Chapter And Verse: Ohio Statewide Organizing Protects Abortion Rights

This issue’s spotlight is on our Ohio chapters, which organized together throughout 2023 for a major abortion rights win in a battleground state.

Throughout the spring and summer, our Ohio chapters took a strong stand against a measure which would have made all future ballot initiative work in the state impossible — and defeated it! This measure was conjured up by Ohio’s GOP legislature to make citizen-led amendments to the state constitution nearly impossible, and the August vote on this measure was deliberately timed before a November ballot measure to protect abortion.

But despite massive conservative spending, Ohio voters saw through their tricks. They voted this anti-democratic measure down! In addition to preserving critical room to protect abortion, DSA chapters’ work to defeat the August measure allowed other crucial future ballot measures that could make a material difference for millions of Ohioans, such as raising the floor for Ohio workers by making sure everyone can be guaranteed a fair minimum wage.

The next step was November, when Issue 1, a measure protecting abortion and ending the previously-passed heartbeat ban, would be on the ballot. Every single Ohio chapter participated in this campaign, which tallied thousands of member hours. Members from all seven chapters knocked on doors, phonebanked voters, and worked in coalition with other organizations to educate voters on the measure and get them to the polls. And in this red-leaning state, Issue 1 passed by more than 13 points!

As a result, the right to abortion will be spelled out in Ohio’s constitution, which means expanding access by invalidating the gestational ban previously passed by the legislature. DSA chapter work, from Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati, helped make this major win possible!