COLUMBUS, Ohio — A proposal to amend the Ohio Constitution and classify the performance of an abortion as an act of aggravated murder was rejected on Monday by the state attorney general for failing to meet the required minimum of valid signatures from registered voters.
Ohio law requires that petitioners submit at least 1,000 signatures for any measure to advance as a ballot proposal, but Attorney General Mike DeWine said that the pro-life petition only had 842 signatures that could be considered valid.
“Because your submission did not contain the verified signatures of at least one thousand qualified electors, we must reject it,” DeWine wrote to petitioners Laura Burton of Cleveland, Anthony Dipane of Monroe Falls, and Dustin Paulson of Strasburg on Monday.
“Because you failed to meet the signature threshold, I have not made any determination concerning the fairness and truthfulness of your proposed summary,” he said.
As previously reported, the ballot proposal would have amended the Ohio Constitution to prosecute abortion as aggravated murder.
“No person shall perform, procure or attempt to perform an abortion,” the text read. “Whoever violates this section is guilty of aggravated murder and shall be punished in accordance with the penalties for that crime …”
It noted that the measure would not apply to contraception, unfertilized eggs or IVF procedures.
The petitioners, who are not connected with any organized pro-life groups, said they decided to pursue a ballot proposal as they saw an opportunity that have never been put forward.
“We saw that since Roe v. Wade no one had proposed a ballot issue saying you can’t murder babies,” Dipane explained to the Columbus Dispatch.
The three used fellow volunteers to help collect petition signatures as required.
But although officials said that some of the signatures couldn’t be counted as valid, Burton, Dipane and Paulson plan to press forward.
“‘Quit’ is not in our vocabulary,” Dipane told reporters following the report.
As previously reported, Oklahoma Sen. Joe Silk, R-Broken Bow, introduced a bill earlier this year that would have added killing an unborn child to existing murder statutes.
“No person shall perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion after conception,” it read. “A person commits murder in the first degree when that person performs an abortion as defined by Section 1-745.5 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes.”
The measure passed the Health and Human Services Committee, but was then stalled by Republican leadership who opined that the move was too “extreme.”
“I’ve had other senators come up and say this goes too far, and I say, ‘Do you think life begins at conception?’ and they say, ‘Absolutely.’ So, if you believe life begins at conception then it’s not too far,” Silk told reporters.
A separate bill introduced by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, that would revoke the medical license of any physician who performs an abortion, passed both houses, but was vetoed by Gov. Mary Fallin.