COLUMBUS, Ohio — Abortion rights advocates are filing a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court over the language the Ohio Ballot Board approved last week for the constitutional amendment that will go before voters in November. 

The suit comes just days after the Ballot Board approved language that is different from what the group had used to gather signatures for the initiative. The Ohio Ballot Board took out references to contraception, miscarriage care and fertility treatments. The Ballot Board also changed the term "fetus" to "unborn child."

What You Need To Know

  • A lawsuit was filed on Monday regarding the approved ballot language for Issue 1

  • Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights are urging the Ohio Ballot Board to use the original language they used during the signature gathering process

  • The Ohio Ballot Board took out references to contraception, miscarriage care and fertility treatments

Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to use the original language they used during the signature gathering process or take out what they describe as "blatant inaccuracies."

The lawsuit language directly states, "Ohioans are constitutionally entitled to ballot language that allows them to make an informed decision about how they will cast their votes. And so, this case asks a question of great consequence: When voters turn to Issue 1 on their ballots this fall, will they find ballot language that fully, accurately, and impartially describes the amendment’s scope and effects? Or, conversely, will voters be confronted with language that obscures that scope and distorts those effects?" 

Professor of law Jonathan Entin from Case Western Reserve University said Ohio's Ballot Board exists to serve as a neutral checks and balances. 

"There has to be two members: two Democrats and two Republicans," Entin said. "A state law defines how they get appointed by the leadership in both houses of the general assembly. The idea is that the Secretary of State, who is a partisan official, who's supposed to operate in a in as impartial a way as possible." 

Meanwhile, the group “Created Equal” who are against the amendment released a statement saying, “radical abortion advocates need their vague and misleading amendment to be on the ballot instead of an impartial and factual summary of the ballot language. Everyone knows why. They must misrepresent the measure to voters in order for Issue 1 to pass.”

Entin said the problem with reproductive rights is that it's hard to come up with language that pleases both sides. However, a neutral stance is needed. 

"I think reflects the views of people on both sides of the abortion debate," Entin said. 

"The language was pretty far off from the original petition language," Jessie Hill, professor of law at Case Western Reserve University, said. "The language that people saw when they actually signed the petition to put this on the ballot is ultimately the language that's going to go into the constitution if it's adopted." 

When it comes to how Ohio’s proposal compares to laws that already exist in other states, Hill said Ohio's proposal as it satnds at the moment is different than other states like California. She said California's constitution already contains a "right to privacy" that's been interpreted to include reproductive autonomy. According to Hill, coastal states have simpler language, but tend to have more protections in their existing laws for abortion compared to Ohio. 

Dan Kobil, a professor of law at Capital University Law School, said if the proposal moves forward, Ohio will no longer be able to enforce a six-week abortion ban. But the amendment could do more depending on each individual situation. 

"Parental consent and notification regulations to promote healthful reproductive care by regulating doctors, those kinds of things would remain in place," Kobil said. "And it would essentially require a case-by-case determination of whether those sorts of things are in fact burdening an individual's right to make their own reproductive decisions according to the parameters as laid out in the amendment." 

If you would like to read the language of the original ballot language, click here. Also, if you would like to take a look at the Secretary of State's revised version of the document, it can be found here.