Ohio Board Sued For Approving ‘Politicized, Deceptive’ Language In Abortion Measure

The text approved by the state’s ballot board includes the medically incorrect phrase “unborn baby,” along with several other inaccuracies.

Reproductive rights advocates in Ohio are suing a state board for approving “politicized, deceptive” and incorrect language on a ballot measure asking voters to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. The lawsuit from Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights accuses the Ohio Ballot Board of “exploiting their authority in an attempt to undermine a measure they oppose.” The lawsuit notes that multiple members of the board, which voted 3-2 to approve the ballot language, have made their opposition to the amendment very public.

The board refused to put the “clear, simple 194-word text of the Amendment” on the ballot and insisted on doing a rewrite, but “the adopted language is longer (by word count) than the Amendment it purports to condense,” the lawsuit states.

The text approved by the board uses language straight from the anti-abortion movement’s playbook. As Ohio state Rep. Elliot Forhan (D), a member of the board who opposed the rewritten language, noted at a hearing, the amendment “uses the medically correct term, ‘fetus,’ but the proposed language substitutes the phrase … ‘unborn child,’ which reflects a personal viewpoint.”


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Read the language in the original initiative petition.

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