Supporters of a GOP-backed amendment that would make future amendments harder to pass at the ballot box in Ohio have launched their first TV ad ahead of next month's special election, but the new spot doesn't address the measure at all. Instead, it encourages a "yes" vote by stoking fears over a likely November vote on a separate amendment that would enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution.
The group behind the advertisement, Protect Women Ohio, has made no secret of its true aims: On its website, it's explicit in saying it seeks to thwart the ballot measure on abortion. But its new television spot doesn't mention abortion, nor does it explain what the August measure, known as Issue 1, would actually do—namely, increase the threshold for future amendments to pass from a simple majority to a 60% supermajority.
Instead, viewers are greeted by footage of a young girl getting tucked into bed. "You promised you'd keep the bad guys away, protect her. Now's your chance," a female narrator warns. "Out-of-state special interests that put trans ideology in classrooms and encourage sex changes for kids are hiding behind slick ads." On-screen we see shots of a teaching tool called the Gender Unicorn and a clip of what appears to be a drag queen story hour.
The abortion amendment, however, has nothing to do with any of these issues. Its text, rather, states that individuals would have the right "to make and carry out one's own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one's own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion."
"You can keep this madness out of Ohio classrooms and protect your rights as a parent by voting 'yes' on Aug. 8," concludes the narrator. Protect Women Ohio says it's putting $2 million behind the ad, on top of the $1 million it's already spent on radio and online advertising. Reproductive healthcare advocates and opponents of the GOP's amendment, meanwhile, have already been on the air for more than two weeks, with ads focusing both on the substance of the August measure and on statements by Republican officials who've made it clear their intent is to block abortion rights.