Carolyn Kaster Associated Press Supporters both camps were heard by voters last Thursday during a day of advance voting in Cincinnati. The abortion vote is designated as “Issue No. 1.”
Only two days left to vote and there is no question of giving up: in Ohio, pro and anti-abortion activists are taking to the streets to convince voters to say “yes” or “no” to the inclusion of this right in the Constitution of this American state.
The local elections close on Tuesday, followed closely throughout the country, but residents have been voting in advance for weeks.
On a sunny morning, Summer McLain, 27, prepares to knock on dozens of doors in Columbus, capital of this Midwestern state. Determined and full of enthusiasm, it is accompanied by her mother Lorie that she defends “yes” to the constitutional amendment. “Yes”, therefore, to the consecration of the right to abortion.
At his window, Idil Petrick, 33 years old, sees the duo pass. ” What are you doing ? », she asks them, curious. The mother of five says she was unaware of the referendum.
Within a few minutes, she promised that she would vote that same day. “Because women should have the right to [decide] whether or not they want to give birth” to a child, she told AFP. “Because it’s about our bodies. »
Summer McLain summarizes their conversation on the mobile application dedicated to the door-to-door operation. The young woman explains that she got involved when the Supreme Court dynamited federal protection of the right to abortion in the summer of 2022.
“I was physically ill for a week,” she says. Then came the time of “the rage,” the need “to do something.” This is how she recently helped gather the signatures necessary to propose an amendment to the Constitution, supported by defenders of abortion in this Republican-controlled state.
Photo: Megan Jelinger Agence France -Press Summer McLain, 27, is about to knock on dozens of doors in Columbus, the capital of Ohio. Determined and full of enthusiasm, it is accompanied by her mother Lorie that she defends “yes” to the constitutional amendment.
Summer is an example of the visceral reactions that the Supreme Court's shock decision provoked. Because if she considers herself today “very progressive, very Democratic”, she admits it bluntly: having grown up in a rural and conservative region of Ohio, the first time she voted, she gave her vote for Donald Trump.
But it is the former Republican president, again a candidate for 2024, who appointed ultra-conservative magistrates to the Supreme Court, signing the death warrant of the famous “Roe V. Wade” decision.
Summer would never have thought such a “step back” possible, she regrets, her voice choked with emotion. Hence his determination to help “save Ohio.”
In the other camp, resolution is everything as strong. Especially since several votes on abortion, organized elsewhere in the country last year, were won by pro-abortionists, even in conservative states.
Hoping to break with this dark streak, the Republican Party and the Catholic Church, among others, mobilized tirelessly to urge a “no” vote, sounding the alarm against an “extreme” text.
L The amendment stipulates in particular that every individual would have “the right to make and implement their own decisions” in matters of abortion and contraception.
Aaron Baer, president of the Center for Christian Virtue, a group advocating for public policy that reflects “the truth of the gospel,” is preparing to meet voters at home, also in Columbus.
< p>The amendment would make his state “one of the most liberal in the nation,” he told AFP.
But, “this is Ohio, dammit. Not “progressive” California, he is indignant.
Anti-abortionists assure that the text, if adopted, would threaten “parental rights”, because it would allow minors to terminate their pregnancy without their parents' permission.
And that it would enshrine the right to abort “at any time during pregnancy,” as Republican Governor Mike DeWine said again on Sunday.
Assertions categorically denied by the opposing camp , which denounces rampant “disinformation”. Waste of effort.
“I have a big problem with the idea that someone could take my daughter to have an abortion without me ever knowing,” insists Mr. Baer, who says he is scandalized by the possibility that “abortion be allowed up to the time of birth, when the child can feel pain.”
Amy Natoce, spokesperson for the anti-abortion coalition Protect Women Ohio, judge “imperative” that the amendment does not pass.
The text has “deliberately been written in a very broad manner”, “so that it applies to minors”, she is alarmed .
After a fierce campaign, both camps anxiously await the results. Who will have been able to develop a possible user guide on this issue for next year's presidential election? Answer Tuesday.