Abortion rights groups say new ads against ballot issue are 'an outright lie'
For months, opponents of a proposed abortion rights Ohio constitutional amendment have been talking about what they call “late-term” abortions. So you might think that would be the focus of the first ad of a $5 million dollar television of digital campaign set to air in the next month.
But the first ad out of the gate by a coalition of groups that opposes the amendment doesn't mention that talking point. Instead, it talks about “parental rights.”
Supporters of the amendment said the ad is “an outright lie.”
Amy Natoce is press secretary for Protect Women Ohio, the coalition of abortion foes behind the campaign. She said the ad makes the point that the amendment is "extreme" and takes away parents' rights.
“It’s setting a dangerous precedent of allowing minors or children to obtain abortions, sex change surgeries without parental consent or even parental notification," Natoce said.
The amendment doesn't address parents’ rights in the case of abortions or gender reassignment surgery. But opponents said it doesn't specifically rule those things out either.
"The language in this bill is so broad and so vague that it is open to more than just abortions. A direct quote from the amendment itself says that ‘every individual has a right to make and carry out ones own reproductive decisions, including by not limited to, decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing ones own pregnancy, etc.’" Natoce said.
Natoce said the groups behind this petition have a track record of fighting against parental rights.
"Planned Parenthood and the ACLU which you know are bankrolling this amendment have argued in other court cases in other states that parental consent is a burden," Natoce said.
Natoce said if this amendment passes, it would wipe out parental consent laws now on the books in Ohio.
Right now, if a minor wants an abortion, they have to either get the ok from a parent or a court before being allowed to terminate a pregnancy. She also said this amendment would prevent the state from enforcing parental consent laws in the future.
Right now in the Ohio Legislature, there are bills currently under consideration that would give parents more rights over what is taught to their children in school and when dealing with issues involving their children's gender or sexual identity.
But Kellie Copeland with for Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, one of the groups in the coalition that's backing the proposed amendment, took issue with the assertions made in the ad.
"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 grass-roots initiative to get government out of our personal health care decisions and create common-sense guarantees for Ohioans freedom about our own reproductive healthcare. The issues raised in this vile ad are pure nonsense but extremist groups are desperate to keep the people from having a voice on this popular initiative," she said.
Copeland said the goal behind the ads is to confuse Ohioans.
"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," Copeland said.
While these ads are airing in the next four weeks, backers of the amendment plan to pound the pavement with petitions, collecting nearly 414,000 signatures by July 5 to get the issue before voters in November. And the pro-amendment coalition is likely to run ads in the future.