Ohio Measure Would Define Unborn Baby as a Person and Ban Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 8, 2016   |   1:57PM   |   Columbus, OH

Three Ohio citizens submitted a proposed state ballot measure to the attorney general’s office on Friday that would change their state constitution to protect unborn babies from abortions.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the constitutional amendment project is led by three individuals: Laura Burton from Cleveland, Anthony Dipane from Monroe Falls and Dustin Paulson from Strasburg.

They are proposing a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to “prohibit abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception, and classifying it as aggravated murder in the state of Ohio.” It also would recognize an unborn baby as “an individual organism … from fertilization, whether fertilization occurs inside or outside of a human, until live birth.” The measure also would make abortion a crime of “aggravated murder” with jail time of up to 15 years for those found guilty.

The three collected signatures from at least 1,000 people in support of the ballot measure, and submitted it to Attorney General Mike Dewine for his approval on Friday, according to the report.

“We don’t take donations. We don’t pay people. We’re financing this out of our pockets at this point,” Dipane said. “[We’re] just three Christians in Ohio.”

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Here’s more from the report:

At this stage, the attorney general’s only duty is to decide if the wording of the issue is in proper form. He job is not to decided the constitutionality of the issue.

If approved, the proposal will be submitted to Secretary of State Jon Husted to verify signatures and forward it to the Ballot Board.

Abortion opponents would have to collect 305,591 signatures to place the issue on the ballot, probably in Nov. 2017.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said the issue “would punish women, plain and simple. If passed, women and doctors would be imprisoned for any abortion, even one to save a woman’s life. Also, the language would block prescription birth control, emergency contraception, IUDs, and could impact access to in-vitro fertilization.”

A number of other states, including Alabama and Oklahoma also have considered similar measures to ban abortion altogether. However, these measures are highly unlikely to become law. Because of the current political climate and the precedents set in the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, courts would almost certainly strike down the measures. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar personhood bill as unconstitutional.

The key to ending legalized abortion is overturning Roe v. Wade, and the current Supreme Court justices are highly unlikely to do so, especially after the unexpected death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia. Three of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, likely would vote to overturn Roe and return abortion laws back to the authority of the states; but five of the other justices almost certainly would not. Scalia’s seat on the high court remains empty.

To overturn Roe and make abortion illegal again, Americans need to elect a pro-life president and U.S. Senators who will put pro-life judges on the high court. This would pave the way for the reversal of Roe and a return to a country that protects every human life.