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[0:03] In Ohio, a proposed amendment to protect abortion was allowed to start collecting signatures. Meanwhile, the forced birth zealots are spending $5 million to lie to Ohio voters about the amendment. And their friends at the state House want to change the rules. Why do Republicans hate democracy? I’m Doug Berger. And this. Is secular left.
[0:45] The other day, the Ohio ballot board, those are the people that approve the language for ballot initiatives to appear on the ballot or in order to gather signatures, approve the measure supported by a coalition of reproductive rights groups here in Ohio to get a constitutional amendment to, codify. The right to reproductive choice in Ohio. And so they’ve they’ve started now. They’ve started to collect signatures.
[1:27] They’ve started now to collect signatures across Ohio. They have to get at least 400,000 signatures and they have to do it within 44 counties. They have to have a certain percentage in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. And the number the total number that they need, the 400,000 plus was based on how many people voted in the last governor’s election. So they’ve started to do that.
[1:58] Now, of course, the. Neanderthals in the forced birth coalition.
[2:06] Have lost their minds in trying to stop it because some of the latest polling on Ohioans average everyday Ohioans show that at least 59% of the people approve of some restrictions on abortion, but they don’t want to see it outlawed completely. So what they did with this this Reproductive Choice Coalition did is they went through and worded it in such a way that a majority of people would approve of it. There is a viability section in there where they talk about not allowing abortions, past viability, but that’s common every day. Some people don’t like that. Some of the choice supporters don’t like that. But in order for to get everybody to vote for this that wants to vote for it, it’s probably best that they do that. And within a day or two of the ballot language being approved, a group, anti-abortion group called and this is a misnomer, Protect Women. Ohio announced that they were going to broadcast or spend $5 Million on an advertising campaign to thwart the extremists.
[3:30] And they came out with their first ad on March the 15th. And the the gist of the ad is a total lie. It’s not based on the actual proposed amendment. And so what the what they want to do is they want to confuse voters. They want this is a typical, typical conservative Republican playbook, is that they manufacture this outrage. And forced the media to talk about this manufactured outrage. And then that becomes the thing. And then people get confused because they’re low information. They don’t get all their information from, you know, from where they need to get it completely. I’m going to play the audio from the anti-abortion ad and then debunk it because it’s pretty easy to debunk. So here’s the clip. Here’s the ad, It’s a very short ad, Here’s the audio from the ad. Your daughters, young, vulnerable, online, you fear the worst pushed to change your sex or to get an abortion. You have some right to help her through this. But activists want to take all that away. Under their proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution, the state shall not interfere with individual.
[4:57] Yeah, that is just very bad. That’s just a very terrible, awful ad because it’s a complete lie. Um, the proposed amendment says nothing about parental rights. Says nothing about changing sex. It says nothing about forcing girls to get abortions. It says nothing like that. The the group that is proposing the amendment is called Protect Choice, Ohio. And that particular name pretty much fits what they’re doing. In the title of the amendment is the right to Reproductive Freedom with protections for health and safety and the amendment.
[5:47] Is pretty much the full text is very short. Yeah, there’s only, what, four sections? So I’m going to read it. I’m going to read the complete proposed amendment. This is the language that is on the petition papers that hopefully people will go and sign and we can get this on the ballot. And this is the full text of the proposed amendment, be it resolved by the people of the state of Ohio. That Article one of the Ohio Constitution is amendment to add the following section. Article one, Section 22. The right to to reproductive freedom with protections for health and safety. A Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care and abortion.
[6:49] Let her be. The State shall not directly or indirectly burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with or discriminate. Discriminate against either one. An individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or two, a person or entity that assists an individual exercising this right. Unless the state demonstrates that it is using the least restrictive means to advance the individual’s health in accordance with widely accepted and evidence based standards of care. That’s important. I want to stress that, that if the state needs to get involved, then they have to do it with the least restrictive means. And that means has to be in accordance with widely accepted and evidence based standards of care. Number three. However, abortion may be prohibited after fetal viability.
[7:52] But in no case, may such an abortion be prohibited. If, in the professional judgment of the pregnant patients treating physician, it is necessary to protect the the pregnant patient’s life or health. So what that means is that the decision is totally up to the person who is pregnant and their treating physician letter C as used in this section. Number one, fetal viability means the point in a pregnancy when in the professional judgment of the pregnant patients treating physician, the fetus has a significant likelihood of survival outside the uterus with reasonable measures. This is determined on a case by case basis. And number two, state includes any governmental entity and any political subdivision. So that means that cities, cities and counties cannot prohibit reproductive choice. We seen that in Ohio recently, where we had some cities such as Lebanon, Ohio. Decide to become sanctuary cities for the unborn and banning abortion outright in their city limits. Now, most of these have gone away because people it’s not popular. Banning abortion is not popular.
[9:16] And so when these few these this subset of people, these religious extremists, these Christian nationalists think that what they’re doing is popular, it’s not. Poll after poll after poll has shown that abortion banning abortion is not popular.
[9:38] And so then the last part is Section D. This section is self executing. That means that the legislature does not have to get involved in order to put this into into play. Kind of like what happened with the gerrymandering where they had to form a commission and all that stuff. They don’t have to do any of that stuff with this. So I just read to you the entire text. Of the proposed abortion protection amendment here in Ohio says nothing about parental rights. It says nothing about sex changes. You know that that’s the boogeyman, That’s the conservative boogeyman right now, that in China, China and and wandering vans looking for kids to change their sex. One of the reasons why they are doing this and doing that is they’re trying to do fear mongering, essentially.
[10:37] Is there trying to fear monger people that typically are low, low information voters. And so they’re going to see these ads and they’ve been playing heavily in my area. In fact, I complained to the local TV stations recently that they’re playing a ad that is not true. And so some people will say, well, Doug, it’s a political ad, it’s protected by the First Amendment. That’s not completely true.
[11:08] The TV stations are granted a license by the FCC in order to broadcast in the public interest. And one of those things is they have to. Well, that and there’s a federal law is they have to take ads from qualified political candidates. And air them unchanged. They’re not allowed to edit them. They’re not allowed to put disclaimers or anything. They have to run them just as they get them. And they all have. And they can’t. And they can’t charge different amounts either. You know, if they support the Republican candidate, they can’t. Charge the Democrats more money for their ads. But one of the things one of one of the areas that they do have discretion on are what are called third party advocacy ads. Those are ads by groups that are not affiliated with qualified candidates. They’re not paid for or anything, but they support either an issue or a candidate.
[12:16] The the TV stations do not have to accept ads from advocacy advocacy groups. They just don’t they don’t have to. TV stations normally don’t have to accept any ads that they don’t want to, you know, that’s just money that they’re losing if they don’t take an ad And there are, plenty of examples of ads that they have not taken in the past. They won’t broadcast ads about condoms sometimes or pregnancy tests, depending on what what time of day it is. But the local stations here in my area didn’t find any problem accepting the ads from the Protect Women, Ohio.
[13:01] And they’ve been playing these ads pretty heavily. They’re supposed to be played for the next four weeks. But yeah, it’s just a ridiculous these ads just they just completely lie. And the the protect women Ohio people say, well, it’s true because the amendment doesn’t specifically prohibit sex changes and not telling parents about abortions and things like that. And you know, they’re just grasping at straws. That’s what they do. They grasp at straws. Kelly Copeland from Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and one of the groups in the coalition that’s supporting the proposed amendment, had this to say in a in a report on WOSU says this ad is an outright lie, and it shows just how dirty these extremists will play to try to manipulate the people of Ohio. What we know is the majority of Ohioans support our grassroots initiative to get government out of our personal health care decisions and create common sense guarantees for Ohioans, freedom about our own reproductive health care. The issues raised in this vile ad are pure nonsense. But extremist groups are desperate to keep the people from having a voice in this popular initiative.
[14:24] Copeland said the goal behind the ads is to confuse Ohioans. Quote, They are desperate, absolutely desperate to confuse Ohioans and prevent this from coming to the ballot because they know a very strong majority of Ohioans disagree with their plans to ban abortion and agree with this amendment, which would put those decisions where they belong. There’s other dirty tricks that these extremists are attempting, and that is in our local legislature. For more information about any of the topics covered in this episode, check out our show notes at Secular Lefaucheux.
[15:09] One of the things that they try to do at the end of last session in December was to pass a bill to get on the ballot to change the percentage needed to pass ballot initiatives. Currently, it’s a simple majority. Just 51% is required to pass a constitutional amendment. Now, I’ve already told you that you have to get your ballot language approved. Then you have to go and collect the signatures and it has to be for 400,000 plus. And then it has to be a certain percentage of signatures from 44 different counties.
[15:49] And if you use a professional signature collector, they have to be registered with the state and there’s a lot to go through. It’s very costly. When they got the. Medical marijuana bill passed or constitutional amendment passed recently, a few years ago. It cost about $10,000 to get that on the ballot. So there’s already a large obstacle to get constitutional amendments and that it should it should be difficult to get in on the ballot. You know, don’t don’t get me wrong. You know, I don’t want to have to be voting on these things constantly. And, you know, that’s why there’s so many different steps. However, the the supermajority in the Ohio legislature, the Republicans.
[16:42] They don’t want this abortion amendment to to pass at all. They don’t want it on the ballot. They don’t want it to pass. So what they’re going to try to do is they reintroduced this, amendment to change the constitution, to require 60% voters to approve a measure in order for it to get to get in the Constitution. Right now, it’s just a simple majority, 51%. They would bump that up to 60% when this was introduced last session. They even tried to exempt the legislature. Because the legislature can also like they’re doing now, they can pass a bill to put something on the ballot, but they don’t have to get signatures. They can pass the bill. And so they were going to exempt the legislature from the 60% threshold. So that they could try to keep minority rule. In the State House for as long as they wanted because they could change the rules any time they wanted with just a simple majority. And that got taken out. I haven’t looked at the bill recently, so I’m not sure if it’s back in or not.
[17:55] But they want to do that. Now, the other thing, too, that they want to do is they want to get this 60% threshold proposed amendment. They want to get it on the ballot and passed before the abortion amendment gets considered because they think it will then apply to the abortion amendment, which means that they might have to try all over again if they don’t get you know, if it holds to the public polling, they wouldn’t have enough. And that’s what that’s what their game plan is. All right. But in order to do that, they have to have a special election in August. And what happened was in the last session.
[18:41] The Republicans, in order to take the voice away from voters more, is they passed a bill that prohibits special elections in August. And that was an attack on the public school system because they’re trying to defund the public school system and move all that money to charter schools. And this was one way they did it, because a lot of times school districts will. Have tax levies to pay for the schools. And sometimes that will be the only issue in August because they’ll have a special election to. To have a tax levy. And so so people people that can’t the people that can afford to pay more taxes for schools wouldn’t be in town because they’ll be at their beach house in Florida and these school taxes will get passed. So the Republicans are pissed off about that. So they decided, you know what, we’ll just stop August special elections completely. The last time that they had a special election was during the pandemic, and it cost $20 million to have the election.
[19:53] And so they said, we’ll save we’ll save $20 million. Well, so now, because they took away all the special elections, there’s now a bill in the Ohio legislature to restore August special elections under very special conditions. And you’re probably with me already on this one. The special conditions are that if they have to fill in a vacancy like in the Congress or something like that, they’ll have a special election for it. That’s fine. And if the legislature passes a bill to put an issue on the ballot to change the Constitution, nothing else. Nothing else can have a special election in August.
[20:41] So they’ll probably pass it because they’re a super majority and they don’t need the Democrats and they’ll pass it. That’s what they want in the House. Ohio House. The speaker of the House currently is opposed to August. Special elections, and he said that he had been working. I think it was him or it might have been the guy that wants to limit or increase how many people are needed to vote on the constitutional amendment. Anyway, one of them said that they had been working since they got into office to. To do away with the August special elections. So this is what has to happen. They have to pass this law to change the law to allow an August special election. Then they have to pass the law to get the 60% threshold on the August ballot. Then they have to assume that people are going to pass it. And that then they think it will apply to the abortion amendment that supposedly most likely will make it onto the November ballot.
[22:01] I’m not a lawyer, but I think that the Protectrillioneproductive choice people would have a very good argument. That that 60% threshold cannot apply to them because they started their process before that constitutional amendment passed. If it passes, I don’t think it’s going to pass. But if the 60% threshold passes, I don’t think it affects the abortion proposal at all. I really don’t. But I don’t take anything for granted with the supermajority Christian nationalist bigots. So they’re trying to game the system like they game gerrymandering to try to remove the voice of the people.
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[23:15] One of the people that introduced the 60% threshold bill in the Senate. The Ohio Senate is Theresa Gavarone, who is the second District senator in Bowling Green, which is just south of me. And what’s curious about that and I think I did an episode about this, is she’s technically not a senator. She gave up her seat when she voted in the May 22nd, 2022 primary in Erie County when she was attempting to run for Congress. And according to the state law, she forfeited her seat when she voted outside her district. Of course, you know, because the Republicans are supermajority, they don’t care. And I’ve reported it. But but what’s interesting about Gavarone is I heard from a blogger who follows the state house pretty, pretty well. The rooster.
[24:24] That there is a plan afoot that when she terms out of the Senate and Senator Matt Huffman, who is from the Lima area terms out they that they are both going to go as a team back into the house. You know, because that’s what they do now. Because the term limits they. Just switch. They just switch bodies every few years so they can keep running. And when you have a gerrymandered legislature, you can do that because you don’t have to worry about any competition. You just switch from the Senate to the House and back to the Senate.
[25:05] And so Gavarone is supporting this 60% threshold. Now, what gets me is that the reasoning that they like it is they claim that it will prevent corruption. And and we just had a trial from a former Ohio House speaker, Larry Householder, who was convicted in federal court of bribery charges in getting a bill passed.
[25:34] To bail out the electric suppliers in Ohio, FirstEnergy and AEP. And FirstEnergy is the one that bribed him. And so it’s kind of ironic that they’re running. The saying that they’re going to keep outside interests out and and prevent corruption in Ohio politics. It’s also ironic because Representative Brian Stewart is the one that came up with this constitutional amendment to raise the passing threshold to 60%, and he conceived it in coordination with the Ohio Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, with the support of the religious zealots at the Center for Christian Virtue. They deny that they want to block the abortion, protect protection or the anti-gerrymandering measures going to be coming soon, the abortion ones already being considered. And there’s people that are talking about strengthening the gerrymandering laws, trying to make them a little bit more like Michigan. Because Michigan. Michigan is the beacon of what Ohio should look like. If we didn’t have gerrymandering and religious zealots running the legislature.
[26:51] Oh, and get this. Just as a side note, I saw today a bill was introduced to change the law concerning homeschoolers. And guess who sponsored it? Sarah Fowler, author, who herself was educated by homeschooling and she served six years on the State Board of Education and tried to punish trans people while she was there. So that’s ironic, but that’s an aside. But anyway, so Representative Stewart claims that, they’re not trying to block the abortion amendment by trying to change the rules on constitutional amendments in Ohio. Well, Senator Matt Huffman, however, in an interview with the press said, Oh yeah, we’re trying to stop the abortion amendment. And he said he said, if we if we spend $20 million to save 30 million lives, it’s worth it. I just hope that people see through the shenanigans. I just hope they do. I’m heartened to know that most people in general are not this extremist. We hear about the extremists all the time because they run things and they know how they get the media.
[28:14] And so. We think that everybody is an extremist, but I really don’t think everybody’s an extremist. I think that the extremists are running the asylum.
[28:27] I mean, we saw that during the pandemic when the anti mask brigade and the anti-vax people and we saw that with the schools, with the school district, people trying to complain about parents rights, that’s another thing that’s coming up. They introduced a federal law restoring parental rights. Let me tell you, parents have so much rights when it comes to their kids in school. It’s not even funny.
[29:01] You know, it’s not they’re not being kept. They’re not being kept away from knowing what their kids are learning. Most school districts have a website that put their finances up on the website. You know, all you have to do is call the office and they’ll tell you what what the curriculum is. If you go to school board meetings, you’ll know what the curriculum is because they have to vote on it. You know, and and the only thing that that people are upset mainly one of the things that people are upset is that when kids have mental health issues or maybe they believe that they’re trans or LGBT, and they don’t want their parents to know. And the reason why they don’t want their parents to know. More than likely, is because their parents are assholes. And if they found out that little Timmy was gay, might throw him out of the house.
[30:00] Why would you force a school district to hurt little Timmy to do that? You know, and it’s also kind of interesting that they complain about public schools censoring people and they themselves want to censor people. You know, there’s a bill in the Ohio legislature right now that would force universities and colleges not to teach certain subjects.
[30:28] You know, and then they complain about the conservative viewpoint being censored. It’s just amazing. It gets a little bit sickening sometimes to try to follow it. And I always wonder, you know, am I do I have the stamina to do it? But I just wanted to bring you about the information about this proposed abortion amendment. And if you hear anything about parental rights being taken away or little Susie being forced to have an abortion, it’s all bullshit.
[31:01] And it’s very easy if you go to protect reproductive choice Ohio, they have the full text of the amendment. It’s going to be on the signature pages that you sign to get it on the ballot.
[31:17] And. Oh, and I almost forgot the other thing too, that the, Christian virtue people are doing down in Cincinnati is they found some flunky to sue the Ohio ballot board claiming that the abortion amendment should have been multiple issues and not a single issue ballot initiative. And see if that if that had happened, then they would have had to get 400,000 signatures for each issue. And they’re claiming that the abortion issue is is a different from miscarriage care and is different than fertility care and all this stuff. And it’s that’s bullshit. All they’re doing is they’re dragging their feet, trying to muck up everything to try to force, trying to make it lose. And what I say is, if you think that Ohioans. Are against abortion so much. Let them vote on it. Let it get on the ballot. Let the voters decide honestly. Let them honestly decide. You know, don’t do any of these tricks and gimmicks and lies and, you know, do the facts.
[32:36] And let the voters decide. That’s the only way that you’re going to find out. And unfortunately, I think they’re going to find out that a majority of Ohioans don’t give a shit. If there’s abortion clinics in Ohio. And so that’s what’s going on in Ohio. This this month. Thank you for listening to this episode. You can check out more information, including links to sources used in our show notes on our website at Secular US. Secular Left is hosted, written and produced by Doug Berger, and he is solely responsible for the content. Send us your comments, either using the contact form on the website or by sending us a note at comments at secular left us. Our theme music is dank and nasty. Composed using Amplify studio.
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