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Lawsuit filed in Ohio Supreme Court over abortion amendment contends Ballot Board got it wrong

Gavel outside the Ohio Supreme Court
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Gavel outside the Ohio Supreme Court

A lawsuit has been filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, asking it to determine an error was made by the state Ballot Board last week when it cleared language for a proposed reproductive rights constitutional amendment.

Cincinnati-area attorney Curt Hartman represents two citizens, Margaret DeBlase and John Giroux, who filed the lawsuit against the members of the Ohio Ballot Board. That panel includes Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), Rep. Elliot Forhan (D-South Euclid) and William Morgan, who was appointed by majority Republicans in the House.

Hartman said the complaint filed with the high court argues the Ballot Board was wrong when it cleared the language as being one petition.

“It clearly should be separated into concepts of abortion or decisions relating to deciding where to terminate a pregnancy on the one hand versus all of these other reproductive decisions," Hartman said.

The lawsuit calls on the court to require the Ballot Board to vacate its earlier decision. It asks the court to force the board to divide the petition into individual parts then certify the approval of each of the individual petitions as containing only one proposed amendment to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who earlier had approved the summary language of the petition.

Backers of the reproductive rights amendment have already begun circulating the one-part petitions for signatures at several locations this past weekend. The coalition of groups supporting the amendment has until July 5 to collect nearly 414,000 valid signatures to be able to put the issue on the November ballot.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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