Ohio Anti-Abortion Campaigners Are Getting Clobbered in Fundraising

It seems like things are going very badly for people against codifying abortion in the Buckeye State, as they've been out-raised by $20 million in recent weeks.

Ohio Anti-Abortion Campaigners Are Getting Clobbered in Fundraising
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Ohioans are voting on a ballot measure that will codify abortion rights in the state, with voting going on now through November 7—and by all accounts, the pro-choice side is crushing the anti-abortion side. Not only does polling show that nearly 60% of voters support Issue 1, including a majority of independents, but early vote turnout is up, and the anti-Issue 1 campaign is getting beat in fundraising.

Issue 1 would enshrine the right to abortion and other reproductive healthcare decisions into the state constitution; the pro-choice position is to vote “yes.” Supporters of the amendment have raised nearly $29 million since September 8, the most recent filing period, while opponents of Issue 1 got just under $10 million in donations. Those figures are via public filings from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

The anti-abortion campaign is led by the misleadingly named Protect Women Ohio, and more than half of its money came from a group connected to Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. Unsurprisingly, Catholic groups were also big donors to the “vote no” side, with the Catholic Knights of Columbus giving $1 million in late September and the Diocese of Columbus donating $300,000 in mid-October. (All in all, Catholic dioceses in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus have dropped $1.7 million to block the amendment.)

It appears the pro-choice fundraising advantage is leading to more ads for that side. AdImpact noted this week that the supporters of Issue 1 have outspent their opponents on ads by $6.5 million so far.

Desperate Ohio Republicans tried to kneecap the ballot measure with a special election in August that sought to raise the threshold for passage, but that effort failed spectacularly. (The final vote was 57% to 43% to leave the rules as is.) The pro-choice side, led by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, urged people to vote no in August and is telling them to vote yes in November.

Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor emeritus in public affairs and philanthropic studies at Indiana University, told the Associated Press that the August defeat probably made anti-abortion donors less willing to keep shelling out money.

This latest news is heartening, but, of course, neither polls or donations vote, so we have to wait until November 7 to see what happens.

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