US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C) speaks in front of House Democrats and pro-abortion rights advocates at an event to demand the protection of abortion rights, at the East Front steps of the US House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US, 13 May 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Ohio voters reject Republican measure aimed at making constitutional amendments harder

Washington, Aug 8 (EFE).- Voters in Ohio on Tuesday rejected a measure proposed by Republicans that would have made it more difficult to introduce amendments to the US state’s constitution, according to US media projections.

The measure would have raised the minimum percentage of votes needed to pass constitutional amendments to 60 percent, compared to the current 50 percent.

Although the proposal did not specifically mention abortion, most US media outlets pointed out that its approval would likely have affected a vote in November that seeks to protect access to abortion in the state’s constitution.

In addition to raising the minimum voter threshold needed to pass amendments, the proposal would have also made the process by which citizens could propose changes to the constitution more difficult, increasing the number of signatures required and eliminating the grace period that currently exists in case some of the signatures are not valid.

Former US vice president and a contender for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential elections Mike Pence urged the state’s citizens to approve the proposal while Democrat Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, called on Twitter to vote against the measure to protect reproductive rights and electoral rights in general.

US President Joe Biden issued a statement welcoming the outcome of the vote.

“Today, Ohio voters rejected an effort by Republican lawmakers and special interests to change the state’s constitutional amendment process. This measure was a blatant attempt to weaken voters’ voices and further erode the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions,” he said.

“Ohioans spoke loud and clear, and tonight democracy won,” he added.

Many expect abortion rights to take center stage during the 2024 presidential election as they did during the midterm elections in November last year, propelling the Democrats to better-than-expected results.

Since the US Supreme Court’s decision in June last year to overturn Roe v. Wade ruling thereby ending the constitutional right to abortion, a handful of states have proposed amending their constitutions to include access to abortion as a right.

Organizations defending reproductive rights in Ohio collected the over 400,000 signatures required to propose a vote on enshrining abortion rights in the state’s constitution.

The vote on the constitutional amendment was approved by the state’s Congress in July and is scheduled for Nov. 7.

Currently, over 20 states in the country prohibit or limit women’s access to abortion.

Some, like Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas or Alabama, do not even include allowances for victims of incest or rape. EFE