Monday, October 24, 2011

'Personhood Ohio' Wants to Ban All Abortions (Updated)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 4:30 PM

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Update: The AP reports Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has rejected the Personhood Ohio ballot language after the group collected 1,000 valid signatures. Now they'll have to collect a new batch of 1,000 John Hancocks and resubmit the language.

He said Monday the summary lists three items the amendment would not affect. He said the group Personhood Ohio should either remove the items or place them in the amendment.

Once that's done, it would need another 385,000 valid signatures to put the issue in front of Ohio voters in 2012.

For some background on the Personhood movement and its success, or lake thereof, in other states so far plus consideration from both sides of the fight in Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch has a pretty comprehensive article with fun quotes like these:

“This is the most unbelievably dangerous assault on women’s health I have ever seen.”

And...

“We can do this every year until we win. And we will."

And...

“The Ohio Revised Code makes 15,000 references to a person. This has the potential to affect all of them."

***

Now that Ohio has created good jobs for everyone, conquered poverty, fixed its crumbling infrastructure, and solved the education dilemma, it’s time to sound the alarm on abortion again.

A new group called Personhood Ohio has just launched a drive to put a “personhood” amendment on the ballot. The amendment would confer full citizenship rights on every fertilized egg — outlawing not only all abortions, but also IUDs and some forms of hormonal contraception.

It would also open up a welter of complicated legal issues: Should fetuses be able to inherit property? Should parents be able to count them as tax deductions? Should miscarriages be punishable by death? And what sort of chores can a three-month-old fetus be expected to help out with?

“Personhood” has reached the ballot only in Colorado, where it met with lopsided defeat in both 2008 and 2010. But in the wake of Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill — which bans all abortions after the first few weeks and was passed in June — now is looking like a fertile time to shake up the conversation.

Even Ohio Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, sidestepped the Heartbeat Bill because members felt it was too much too fast and could set back their cause. The group did not return calls seeking comment.

Kelly Copeland, of the abortion-law reform group Pro Choice Ohio, says such a ballot issue in November 2012 could draw a flood of progressive women to the polls. “It would not be the most politically astute thing they could do to have it go on the ballot in a presidential year in a battleground state,” she says.

Before that happens, Personhood Ohio will need 1,000 signatures just to get a petition. After that, 381,000 autographs will get them on the ballot of their choice. — Anastasia Pantsios

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