▶ Watch Video: Ohio GOP try to make it harder to amend the state’s constitution to target abortion access

Pro-abortion rights advocates delivered more than 700,000 signatures to the Ohio secretary of state’s office on Wednesday in support of putting a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on the ballot in November.

Together, the groups Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Protects Choice Ohio submitted 710,131 signatures, several hundred thousand more than the roughly 413,000 signatures necessary to put the question to voters. 

The proposed amendment would update the state’s constitution with language that provides every individual the “right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions” when it comes to abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, continuing a pregnancy and miscarriage care.

The collected signatures will go through a review to determine whether the measure officially makes it on the ballot, a process that will take several weeks. While the groups gathered additional signatures to account for possible errors and mistakes, there is an additional window in which they can collect more signatures and refile to get on the ballot should they fall short.

Boxes of signatures are set to be unloaded and delivered to Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office in downtown Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.

Patrick Orsagos / AP

As the groups work to add the amendment to the November ballot, all eyes are on Ohio’s Aug. 8 election, when voters will decide whether to change the state’s constitutional amendment process. Currently, adopting an amendment requires 50% of the vote, but Republicans added a measure to the August ballot that would increase the threshold to 60%. A “yes” vote on the measure, known as Issue 1, would increase the threshold for passing a constitutional amendment, and a “no” vote would keep it at 50%. Critics argue the move is a direct attempt to make it more challenging for Ohioans to protect abortion rights in the state constitution. 

Abortion remains accessible in Ohio up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, after a court temporarily blocked a six-week abortion ban that went into effect following the Supreme Court decision overturning of Roe v. Wade last June. 

Activists in several states have been working to put abortion rights directly on the ballot ever since. Last year, when abortion rights were directly on the ballot in a Kansas special election and a handful of other states in the midterm elections, voters sided with protecting abortion access on every ballot measure.