At This Hour

Backers of a proposal…to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution…can begin collecting the more than 413,000 voter signatures required to put the issue before voters this fall…all this…after the petition cleared another hurdle this week. The constitutional amendment moves to the signature-gathering phase after the Ohio Ballot Board confirmed the petition language. Abortion remains legal in the state up to 20 weeks’ gestation…under a judge’s order issued in a lawsuit, challenging a ban once cardiac activity can be detected. The fall ballot proposal would assure access to abortion until what is called viability, when the fetus could survive outside the womb. It also would protect caregivers from being punished for performing the procedure or aiding the process. They say they are aiming to gather at least 700,000 signatures to ensure they meet the requirement. Anti-abortion groups are vowing to fight the proposal and are already urging Ohio residents to vote against it if it makes it to the ballot.

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