The tell was when they changed the wording to something that better reflects the brutal reality.

In September, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the language of Issue 1 – a radical proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would legalize abortion until birth for almost any reason – must be updated. In place of “fetal viability” – the point of pregnancy at which abortion could be regulated under the new policy – the new amendment would say “after an unborn child is determined by a pregnant woman’s treating physician to be viable.”

The policy of allowing children to be killed at that age – at any age – is still barbaric. But, at the very least, referring to an “unborn child” rather than a “fetus” spells out what’s at stake: the life of a child in the womb. Not a fetus, not a clump of cells, not some nebulous life form that might be human. A child.

After the update, support for the language of the proposed amendment dropped significantly from 68 percent to just 52 percent, according to one poll.

Language matters. The argument for life rests on clear truth – that no matter how difficult a woman’s circumstances might be, the child she is carrying is a human being; that abortion causes the violent death of this child; that abortion is for that reason always wrong.

And, thus, our society also has an obligation to ensure that expectant mothers aren’t left to fend for themselves, and are provided the support necessary to raise their children.

This is the kind of future we must be building in Ohio and everywhere else, not a future where women who feel pressured to abort are actually encouraged by the law to move ahead with the death of their children.

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We also must exercise this moral clarity in calling abortion what it is, because so many of the arguments for abortion have historically rested upon euphemisms or outright lies – like “choice,” “safe, legal, and rare,” “reproductive health care.”

Now we are considering a proposal that allows abortion for any reason until “viability” – even though after 50 years of Roe, we can’t agree on what the standard is and when it occurs in a pregnancy.

A child may be able to survive outside the womb with intensive care as early as 21 weeks, but development begins at fertilization. Major organs begin developing after three to four weeks. At around six weeks, we can detect the child’s heartbeat. Evidence of brain waves can be detected as early as seven weeks. Fingers and toes begin developing around this time as well.

Technological advancements have enabled us to see even more clearly what we’ve known to be true all along: The child in the womb is a human being from the earliest stages.

So with all this evidence in hand, we can more clearly consider the proposal before us: an amendment that not only legalizes abortion “pre-viability” for any reason, but allows doctors to perform late-term abortions if they deem a serious threat to a woman’s “health.” And we know that “health” exceptions to late-term abortion laws can be so broad as to be essentially meaningless.

We must defeat Issue 1 to save these precious lives. And yes, while the current state law that prohibits abortion after 22 weeks is not remotely close to acceptable, there are pro-life state officials who have been trying to enact much stronger laws. We must also defeat Issue 1 because its passage would make these future pro-life victories all the harder to achieve.

We’ve already seen states with liberal abortion laws become abortion “destinations” in the last 16 months, resulting in a nationwide net increase in abortions. Illinois, just 140 miles from the Ohio border, has seen an estimated yearly increase in abortions of 18,000 from 2020 to 2023. Abortions have increased in neighboring Michigan and Pennsylvania. The same can not, must not, happen in Ohio.

Will the recent drop in support for the Issue 1 language be enough to stop it? We don’t know – which should galvanize the pro-life movement as never before to not only show up at the polls but rally their friends and neighbors to vote “no.”

The pro-life issue is a human issue, not a partisan one. Ohioans, do you have friends who don’t normally vote but who are pro-life – or who at least don’t support unfettered abortion? Talk to them. Tell them the plain truth of what’s at stake this Tuesday.

Pro-lifers must build a coalition to win that includes support from a variety of political voting blocs who balk at abortion extremism. Editorial boards at the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Toledo Blade – not exactly outspoken bastions of conservatism – have declined to endorse Issue 1. Not everyone who tolerates abortion also supports its legality throughout pregnancy.

There are many who can still be persuaded to vote down this amendment. According to one recent poll, 12 percent of respondents were still not sure if they agreed or disagreed with the language of Issue 1. According to another recent poll, 16 percent of political Independents said there was a “50/50 chance” they would vote.

These are not insignificant numbers in an election where every vote counts.

The future here begins with stopping this radical promotion of mass death. It will not – it cannot – end there, because a truly pro-life society protects all children from the moment of conception and ensures that all mothers have the support they need to raise their children. A truly pro-life society is intent on eradicating the injustices that pressure women to abort.

But in order to take a step toward this society, we must first halt the mad quest to promote abortion until birth for almost any reason. It starts on November 7.

LifeNews Note: Benjamin Watson is a former NFL player and Super Bowl champion. He is the current vice president of strategic relationships with Human Coalition, and author of the book “The New Fight for Life: Roe, Race, and a Pro-Life Commitment to Justice.”

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