LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Ohio voters passed an issue earlier this week to enshrine abortion access into the state constitution, and behind the effort was one Arkansan.
“What I saw in Ohio was a pushback against government interference in the lives of everyday Ohioans,” Judson Scanlon said.
For Scanlon, the issue is an important one. Coming from Arkansas, which is said to be the most pro-life state in the nation, Scanlon said it has always been an uphill battle to fight for reproductive rights.
“Frankly, there’s a part of me that likes to think of this as getting a little revenge,” Scanlon said in an interview Thursday.
“We had two elections to actually contest in,” Scanlon said. “The first election was the issue that changed the passage and requirements to 60% and the second issue was passing the abortion rights.”
Despite hurdles, and Ohio being a red state with a mostly Republican legislature and Republican governor, the abortion measure passed Tuesday.
The issue legalizes abortions up until the point of fetal viability, meaning at the point where the fetus is said to have a likelihood of survival outside the womb.
It provides exceptions for cases in which the doctor determines the life or health of the woman is at risk.
On Wednesday, FOX 16 News interviewed Jerry Cox with Arkansas Family Council. Cox emphasized the need for the pro-life community to step up in times like these for women facing unplanned pregnancies.
“We need to do a really good job of helping people come to an understanding of what it means to be pro-life and then we have to stand to help women and girls who have an unplanned pregnancy and be sure that they have good alternatives and they’re not backed into a corner feeling like an abortion is their only choice,” Cox said.
The past few years, the Arkansas legislature has appropriated $1 million for organizations helping women with unplanned pregnancies, following the state’s near-total abortion ban.
Cox and Scanlon both said they believe the messaging is becoming more important for both sides of the issue, so people really understand what both sides mean.
Scanlon said while it will be an uphill battle, the belief is there could be a similar issue on Arkansas ballots in the future.
Though Scanlon said Arkansas voters do support this measure, it also needs institutional support, so the next steps will focus on gaining that.
“We just have a lot of work to get there,” Scanlon said. “Government interference in our lives is the issue here.”