Creepy Lawmakers Obsessed With Our Wombs Take Another Massive L

So you might have heard recently that Ohio’s abortion rights and basic representative governance were up for grabs in an unusually-timed off-cycle election. And it turns out that democracy won!

By a 57-43 percent margin (with 97 percent reporting), Ohio voters chose to preserve their existing constitutional order. A simple majority will still be able to amend the state constitution with additions submitted by signatures from 5 percent of voters from at least half the counties of the state instead of having to get the same number from every county. It’s a significant victory!

But let’s be honest: most people weren’t motivated by parliamentary procedure. The whole effort was launched and designed by the extremely (and illegally) gerrymandered GOP state legislature as a preemptive strike against an abortion rights ballot initiative in an attempt to keep up their chances of imposing draconian restrictions on pregnant people. National groups poured more than $30 million combined into this election as a proxy fight for the pro- and anti-choice battle brewing over the next two Novembers. The top-line focus might have been about the state constitution, but the real issue was whether Ohioans would retain their right to choose.

With stakes like these, it’s no surprise that many political commentators (yours truly included) are seeing a major message in this massive W. Namely: STOP FUCKING WITH BODILY AUTONOMY. 

The victory in Ohio is just the latest and loudest demonstration that most people favor abortion rights, and almost no one except creepy, intrusive weirdos thinks otherwise. This was an off-year, illegally-timed, special interest election, and despite everything stacked against them, Ohio voters aggressively protected the authority to make decisions for themselves — whether in the privacy of their homes or the privacy of the voting booth. Turnout was higher for this sleepy August contest than last year’s midterm primaries; that’s a lot of motivation around an issue that has always been perceived as a Republican strength.

More than a year after the Dobbs decision from the openly corrupt Supreme Court, we see that voters haven’t forgotten or forgiven this transgression against our fundamental rights. Rather than getting more complacent, turnout has surged with abortion on the ballot, leading to undeniable margins even in the unlikeliest places. It’s just more evidence that Democrats shouldn’t back down from abortion rights—because voters definitely aren’t.

For all of the conventional wisdom about the dangers of the culture war for Democrats, it looks like the exact opposite is true. Ohio Republicans threw every toxic talking point they could into this campaign, from garden-variety “outside agitator” and “protect your vote” propaganda to the newer, more outrageous flavor of trans panic, and they still lost handily. It was over so quickly that our internet fave Dave Wasserman (IYKYK) had seen enough barely 30 minutes after the polls closed.

Ohio Democrats even got a political bonus in the form of gross charlatan Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R, of course) explicitly tying his nascent Senate campaign against Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown to the campaign of Issue 1—giving voters the chance to say no to him and the sketchy attempt to rewrite the state constitution. LaRose also helpfully provided a quote about how this whole effort was just to end abortion rights forever, so the stench won’t be easy to wash off. We truly love this for him (and Ohio).

Most of all, this should continue to inspire those of us who recognized the importance of Roe well before it fell. These elections would be better if they didn’t need to happen. But they’re heartening nonetheless. People aren’t just engaged around reproductive rights, they’re motivated to protect them at any cost. Hopefully the message from a former swing state reaches the people with the power to change things: voters are ready to fight for our rights, if it’s made clear what we’re fighting for.

Kaitlin Byrd
Kaitlin Byrd
Knows too much, thinks even more. Has infinite space in her heart for tea and breakfast for dinner. Really from New York, so always ready to cut a bitch.