Four Ohio Republican state legislators want to revoke judges’ authority to interpret an abortion rights amendment after voters chose to enshrine those rights in the state’s constitution this week.
Republican state Reps. Jennifer Gross, Bill Dean, Melanie Miller and Beth Lear announced Thursday that they will push to have the Legislature, rather than the courts, make decisions regarding the amendment passed on Tuesday.
“To prevent mischief by pro-abortion courts with Issue 1, Ohio legislators will consider removing jurisdiction from the judiciary over this ambiguous ballot initiative,” said the group of lawmakers. “The Ohio legislature alone will consider what, if any, modifications to make to existing laws based on public hearings and input from legal experts on both sides.”
This move is the latest in the battle over abortion rights between the Republican-dominated Legislature and the majority of voters, who passed the amendment with a 57% to 43% margin.
Abortion rights advocates plan to challenge any remaining abortion bans and restrictions in Ohio through the courts, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for those seeking an abortion and a ban on abortions after a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis.
House Speaker Jason Stephens declined to comment on the release, according to his spokesperson, Aaron Mulvey. However, Stephens was among the dozens of legislative Republicans who have vowed to oppose the new amendment.
“The legislature has multiple paths that we will explore to continue to protect innocent life. This is not the end of the conversation,” Stephens previously said in a news release.
If the amendment or other abortion restrictions are challenged in the courts, it’s unclear how they would fare. The state Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority, has the final say over state constitutional issues.