You would think that it has become abundantly clear that people do not like extremely restrictive measures on abortion. While not all of them firmly believe in a woman’s right to choose and some may not particularly like the idea of abortion or want it to be too freely available, the majority seem to realize that exceptions are necessary in the case of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is at risk or if the fetus seems to have serious problems. They also seem to want abortions to be available until viability, or until about two trimesters, which was the standard in Roe v. Wade before the US Supreme Court jettisoned it. Trying to enforce more restrictive measures results in voters coming out in force to reject those efforts, as we saw in Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, and elsewhere.
Given those results, you would think that the Ohio legislature would take a break from trying to have strict abortion limits. But no. In Ohio, even after the recent major defeat, they are trying to get around the recently passed constitutional amendment by passing laws limiting the ability of judges to interpret the language of the amendment.
Republican state house representatives Jennifer Gross, Bill Dean, Melanie Miller and Beth Lear said in a news release on Thursday that they will push to have Ohio’s legislature – not the courts – make any decisions about the amendment passed on Tuesday.
“To prevent mischief by pro-abortion courts with [the amendment], Ohio legislators will consider removing jurisdiction from the judiciary over this ambiguous ballot initiative,” said the mix of fairly new and veteran lawmakers who are all vice-chairs of various house committees. “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.”
Abortion rights advocates plan to ask the courts to repeal any remaining abortion bans and restrictions on the books in Ohio, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before abortion seekers can have the procedure and a ban on abortions after a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Such a move by the Republicans, if passed, would end up in court, and likely go all the way to the Ohio supreme court. That body has a conservative majority but whether it will go along with a measure to limit its own role in interpreting laws is unclear. What is clear is that Republicans are scrambling to try and find a message on abortion that they think they can run and win on, or at least not lose badly, because Democrats are going to relentlessly hammer them for their extreme views at every single opportunity.
The GOP is a real piece of work. They lose the vote and then try to block the courts from enforcing the results of the vote. They have abandoned any allegiance to civic norms.