COLUMBUS: As the clock ticks down on a high-stakes vote in the US state of Ohio, activists are out in force urging voters to decide whether to explicitly enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution.
It is a fraught, emotional issue and passions run high for the Tuesday (Nov 6) vote – partly because the decision may prove a bellwether of sentiment on the issue in national elections that are one year away.
Some Ohio residents have been voting in advance for weeks but activists on both sides of the issue are canvassing to the last minute.
On a sunny morning, 27-year-old Summer McLain is about to knock on dozens of doors in Columbus, leaflets in hand. Determined and full of energy, she and her mother Lorie, 61, urge a vote of “yes” to the constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to abortion.
“SICK FOR WHOLE WEEK”
At her window, Idil Petrick, 33, sees the duo pass by.
“What are you guys doing?” she asks curiously.
The mother of five says she doesn’t know about the ballot issue, but the subject of abortion is close to her heart. In the space of a few minutes, she promises to go and vote that very day.
“Because women should have the right if they want to give birth or not,” Petrick tells AFP.
McLain carefully inputs details of the conversation on the mobile app dedicated to the door-to-door operation.
The young woman explains that she became involved when the Supreme Court removed federal protection for abortion rights in the summer of 2022.
“I was physically sick for a whole week,” McLain says. Then came a sense of “rage,” followed by a desire to act. That’s how she recently helped gather the signatures needed to put a proposed amendment to the constitution before voters.
McLain epitomises the visceral reactions that the Supreme Court’s shock decision provoked.