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· December 7, 2011

Issue 3: preserving a woman’s right to healthcare freedom?

Today’s newspapers reveal a bit of unintended (we think) irony. Issue 3, the anti-“Obamacare” constitutional amendment backed by the Ohio Liberty Council—an umbrella group of Tea Party organizations—is being used by the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge proposed legislation that would ban abortions early in a woman’s pregnancy (HB125, the so-called “Heartbeat Bill”). Today, constitutional scholars are testifying at a packed Senate hearing, while the ACLU promises a lawsuit based on Issue 3’s prohibition against laws banning the sale of healthcare in Ohio. As Innovation Ohio warned before Issue 3 passed, attempts to prevent women from seeking a physician’s assistance to terminate a pregnancy may now be unconstitutional because such legislation seeks to ban the sale of a healthcare service. It is telling that Issue 3’s wording emphasized personal liberty (“to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their healthcare”), because, as it turns out, it may prove to be a useful tool to preserve the freedom of Ohio women to choose their healthcare.

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