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Column: The small victory we never should have needed

Photo credit: Alexis David
Signs are displayed featuring phrases in favor of abortion protections and affirming a woman’s right to an abortion. Although Ohio’s passing of Issue 1 is important in re-securing reproductive freedoms across the U.S., it is hard to not feel disappointed that we must re-secure these protections in the first place.

If you’ve happened to look at the news lately, you’ve probably noticed one headline consistently popping up: Issue 1 has passed in Ohio.

If you haven’t checked the news lately, though, let me explain the significance of this law. Issue 1, or The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety, is a state law essentially protecting abortion rights in the state of Ohio. It allows anyone the legal right to have an abortion until 22 weeks into the pregnancy, purchase contraception and have fertility treatment and miscarriage care. It also, most importantly, prohibits the state from both impeding upon and penalizing an individual’s decision in this regard.

Ohio citizens voted on Issue 1 Nov. 6. It passed in a 13-point victory and will go into effect early in December.

With this vote, Ohio became the seventh state to secure abortion access after citizens voted to protect it. The ruling makes Ohio the only state this year to consider and pass a statewide abortion rights law.

This was a decisive victory in a fairly red state, which is an important step in securing reproductive freedoms throughout the U.S. According to a Pew Research study, Ohio is split roughly in half over views on abortion — whether it should be legal or illegal, in most cases. However, Issue 1 passing in such a decisive nature helps illustrate how all citizens, both Republican and Democrat, believe it’s important to uphold our individual rights and liberties without letting the government overstep and restrict them.

So, no, this victory isn’t small, as my headline suggests. It is massively important that, in our new reality, we keep striving for comprehensive abortion protections in each state. But, when looking at the full reproductive rights we had before — with Roe v. Wade — this victory seems meager in comparison.

While it would be nice to cheer for this accomplishment, I can’t help remembering what was taken from women in the United States that led us to this moment, as well as the millions of women living in states who don’t protect their right to an abortion. I find myself grappling with a mixture of emotions — joy, surprise and excitement, but also sadness and grief.

It’s times like these that truly make me question why we are regressing as a society.

I am sure many people share in my disappointment over the loss of Roe v. Wade. We must never forget all that we’ve lost and all that’s been taken away from us as women — not just abortion rights, but also the right to control our own bodies and command our own decisions.

Despite our disappointment, we must learn to move forward in our new society, supporting and advocating for these new laws, especially when people still desire to take them away.

Ohio House Republicans as well as anti-abortion groups based in the state are trying to stop the amendment, and if that plan fails, to maintain the strictest regulations they can under the bill. Therefore, it’s important we continue to advocate for reproductive freedoms.

Additionally, it’s especially crucial the government shows respect in upholding voters’ voices. People in positions of power within the government should not have the right to overturn what is desired by their citizens, solely because of their status and individual beliefs — whether religious or political.

There are at least 12 states where laws determining abortion access may be on the 2024 ballots. We must encourage voters in those states to vote in favor of abortion protections. Although many of my readers are likely based in California, there are still ways to help. One way you could help is by talking to people you know based in those states and encouraging them to vote. Another is donating to abortion activism groups, such as the Center for Reproductive Rights, or volunteering for Planned Parenthood.

No matter how we do it, it’s important we keep striving forward for change — one step at a time.

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About the Contributor
Alexis David, Columnist
Alexis David joined The Oracle in 2021 as a staff reporter and returned in 2023 as a columnist. Her column centers around politics, social justice and identity. Alexis is an avid member of the theater community, participating in both upper school shows and stage managing for the middle school productions, as well as being a member of the "Drama Queens". In addition to theater, Alexis is a co-chair of the Artemis Center and a PAWS leader.

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