Next Tuesday, voters in my home state, Ohio, will cast their ballots on Issue 1, a constitutional amendment that would permit virtually limitless abortion. “Be it Resolved by the People of the State of Ohio that … A. Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on … abortion.”
I don’t use the word “extreme” often — it’s way too extremely overused. This time, as you’ll see, the word fits: This is abortion extremism in action. So is the advertising behind it.
Case in Point
The image below is both sides of a flyer that came to our house a couple weeks ago. Printed on large, 8 1/2 x 11 glossy paper, it features a stern-looking pediatrician saying, “My patients should make their medical decisions with their families – not the government.”
Another glossy mailer arrived a week later from the same group, saying, “Issue 1 … blocks Ohio’s abortion ban and ensures families – not the government – once again have the freedom to make personal medical decisions.” It urges a “yes” vote, to “Return decisions about abortion to women and their families.”
You see what they’re doing there, right? They’re using conservatives’ language of families and small government to sell their leftist dream. The kindest words I can put on that are deceptive and manipulative. Maybe they don’t realize we’re okay with laws against killing young innocents. Or maybe (ya think?) they’re playing with words.
Every Individual Includes Every Girl
They certainly are with the business about patients making medical decisions with their families. This amendment (scroll to page 3) would do precisely the opposite. If approved by the voters, it would make it constitutional law that “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on … abortion.”
Notice: it says every individual. I take that to mean every. No limits of any sort, not even age limits. The only restriction remaining would be fetal viability as determined by the “treating physician … on a case by case basis.” Standards of care are mentioned, but practitioners would surely have almost total discretion, so how enforceable would that be? How many Planned Parenthood abortionists “case by case” would give the baby a real chance to live? Further, the amendment would permit any abortion whatsoever based on “the individual’s health.” This, too, is supposed to be “in accordance with widely accepted and evidence-based standards of care,” but that’s wide open to loose interpretation, especially with respect to mental and emotional health.
Would You Trust this Doctor
Abortion is bad enough, but this gets worse. Issue 1’s passage would create a new legal right for every “pregnant patient” to “make and carry out” her own decision to abort, on her own. If the “patient” (side question: Is pregnancy an illness?) is an adult, she decides on her own. If she’s a 14-year-old living at home, she decides. Without restriction. This language locks parents out. It leaves them no legal right to participate in making the decision.
A doctor who truly wanted her patients to “make their medical decisions with their families” would have to vote against Issue 1. A doctor who says it’s about decision-making with families is simply not telling the truth. Is she ignorant? Or is she using deceitful language to manipulate conservatives into voting for something they strongly disagree with? I don’t like the choice I have to make there, but it’s hard to avoid, isn’t it?
No Squirreling Out of It This Way
It would help if I could believe she spoke in ignorance: “Honest, I thought it was family-friendly! I just didn’t read it through!” No chance of that. It would even help if I could believe the AP’s lame attempt to squirrel out of it, saying parental rights aren’t necessarily at risk:
The amendment does not change Ohio’s existing parental notification and consent law, which requires minors to have parental permission — or a judicial exception in extreme cases — in order to get an abortion. … To be overturned, Ohio’s existing parental consent law would have to be challenged in court and struck down by the state Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority.
The message: Don’t worry so much, folks! You might not lose your parental rights with this law. Some future court, someday maybe (but who knows?) might decide “every” doesn’t really mean “every.” Some future conservative court might rewrite it on the fly, maybe saying,”Sure, the amended constitution says ‘every individual,’ but what it really means is every adult individual.” Or, “Ohio voters voted for this, but they didn’t really mean it.” Or, “Of course it says ‘every individual,’ but we don’t like that, so we’re going to decree our own answer instead”?
Those are three ways some future court could rewrite the constitution – except rewriting laws that way isn’t what conservative courts do. That’s liberals’ game.
Irrelevant and Lame
It’s not just lame, it’s irrelevant. Who votes for this kind of thing based on what some future someday-maybe court might decide on it? Not me. I’m voting based on what I read in the bill, and what I read there is bad.
The same AP article, by the way, says this is no different from restoring Roe v. Wade. That would be bad enough, but this is worse. Roe opened the door for horrendous sin against our children, allowing millions to be killed. Issue 1 would multiply that sin, virtually mandating parental neglect. Parents who stepped in with words of wisdom might just be breaking the law. Parents who wanted to protect their grandchildren definitely would be.
Where Do They Get “This” From?
Issue 1’s proponents don’t care about that, and it appears they don’t care if they use deceptive manipulations to get there way. It’s almost pathetic, the way they do it. The second flyer we got from them, pictured here, suggest some new law with new bans. The quote from National Public Radio says, “This will ban the vast majority of abortions.” I ask, What is the “this” they’re talking about? There is no “this.” There are no new abortion restrictions on this ballot. I don’t know of any that are even under discussion in any politically viable way.
So I don’t know what law this quote is referring to. I don’t even know what state it’s about. All I know is that if you look really closely you can see a date, hardly more visible in full size than in the scan you see here. The NPR quote is four-and-a-half years old! I suppose it had to do with Ohio’s heartbeat law, passed and signed in April, 2019. To use it now, though, when no “ban” is on the ballot, is deceitful scare-mongering.
Deceptive, Manipulative, Wrong
Do facts even matter to these people? They appeal to conservatives falsely, using distorted language of families and small government. They appeal to liberals with fake but frightening language of abortion bans. Manipulate one side one way, manipulate the other side the opposite way. Win their emotions, let the facts fall where they may.
The whole thing stinks. It gives me no joy to say so. What would give me joy would be if Ohio used the polls next week to tell these people we can see through their deceptions. We see how this bill would carve a huge hole out of parents’ rights and responsibilities, and we know that’s wrong. It’s even wronger to kill babies. And we’re not the least bit impressed with their patently false advertising.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the highly acclaimed Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.