COLUMBUS, Ohio — A proposal to amend the Ohio Constitution and classify the performance of an abortion as an act of aggravated murder has been presented to the state attorney general—a first step in the process of placing issues on the November ballot.
“No person shall perform, procure or attempt to perform an abortion,” the proposed text reads. “Whoever violates this section is guilty of aggravated murder and shall be punished in accordance with the penalties for that crime …”
It notes that the measure would not apply to contraception, unfertilized eggs or IVF procedures.
The ballot proposal was submitted by Laura Burton of Cleveland, Anthony Dipane of Monroe Falls, and Dustin Paulson of Strasburg, who, according to reports, are not connected with any organized pro-life groups.
“We saw that since Roe v. Wade no one had proposed a ballot issue saying you can’t murder babies,” Dipane told the Columbus Dispatch.
The three used fellow volunteers to help collect the required 1,000 petition signatures for advancement.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is now reviewing the text to ensure that its description is accurate, and if so, the effort will move to Secretary of State Jon Husted, who will ensure that the proposal has enough valid signatures to meet the requirement. The Ohio Ballot Board would then decide whether the issue is one constitutional amendment or if it should be placed on the ballot as several issues.
The petitioners would, at such point, be required to gather nearly 306,000 signatures from registered voters who support the effort in order for it to be officially placed on the ballot.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio has already expressed opposition to the proposal, telling the Columbus Dispatch, “If passed, women and doctors would be imprisoned for any abortion, even one to save a woman’s life.”
It also asserted that “the language would block prescription birth control, emergency contraception, IUDs, and could impact access to in-vitro fertilization,” although the text of the amendment outlines that it would not apply to those aspects.
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.