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In Case You Missed it: Athens reacts to the passage of Issues 1, 2

Ohio voters took to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 7, to vote on Issues 1 and 2, which would protect abortion rights through the State Constitution and legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in Ohio, respectively. 

After both issues passed with a majority vote of 57%, Athens voters gave their thoughts on the election results. 

“I strongly believe in bodily autonomy,” said Natalie Parsons, a sophomore studying psychology. “I think that we should all have the right to do what we want with our own bodies, that the government ... shouldn’t be telling us what to do with them.” 

Parsons, who said she voted in support of both issues, also shared her thoughts on the criminalization of substances such as marijuana. 

After learning in her classes how the war on drugs has affected lower-income communities and people of color, Parson said that decriminalizing marijuana is an important first step toward the regulation of more recreational drugs so people using them can do so safely and without going to jail for it. 

Many other students on campus share the same attitude about the special election such as Riley Pocisk, a sophomore studying health services administration, who also voted in favor of both issues.

“I could appreciate how somebody would say ‘no’ on Issue 2, but I really just disagree with voting ‘no’ on Issue 1 from a public health approach and just women’s rights in the country,” Pocisk said. “We shouldn’t be going back, we should be going forward.” 

Pocisk, who celebrated the new amendment for his mom and girlfriend, said his health classes made him feel that the ammendment allowed women power over their bodies, which he saw as the healthier and more ethical choice. 

On the other hand, many OU students disagree with the election’s results. 

Olivia Barnes, a sophomore studying business administration, is an anti-abortion advocate and the president of Bobcats for Life, a group of pro-life student activists. Like many other voters on either side of the debate, Barnes was more concerned with Issue 1.

“I think the results of Issue 1 show a couple of things,“ Barnes said. “Either people don’t recognize that life in the womb is a life, in which case they don’t see abortion as being a problem, it’s just a medical procedure like anything else if that’s your frame of reference, or people don’t place any value on that life or were misled about what the issue was.”

In Barnes’ opinion, life starts at conception and therefore is as worthy of life as any other human. Furthermore, she believes that pro-choice terminology and arguments attempt to diminish this value. One example Barnes gave is the argument that a fetus is just a “clump of cells,” a phrase she believes is used to spin the perception of what an abortion is. 

According to Barnes, the amendment passing, while disappointing, will not change the mission of the club to support women and advocate for life.

As for Issue 2, Barnes said that she doesn’t believe marijuana is dangerous in comparison to other drugs; however, its users are not in a sober state of mind. For her, she said, the atmosphere in areas where weed is legalized is undesirable and she would rather things stay the same; however, she expected the issue to pass. 

Students all over campus have felt one way or another about Issues 1 and 2 and how important they are. The reactions continue to roll in as a result of both issues passing and students are passionate and eager to share. 


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