TAMPA, Fla. — A petition drive is underway in Florida in an effort to place a measure on the 2018 ballot that would amend the state constitution to criminalize abortion as murder.
“Inasmuch as abortion deprives an innocent human being of the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, any person who performs or procures an abortion shall be guilty of premeditated murder in the first degree, and any person who attempts to perform or procure an abortion shall be guilty of felony attempted murder,” the proposed constitutional amendment reads.
It defines abortion as being “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device, to intentionally kill an unborn human being” and marks conception as beginning at fertilization as opposed to conception.
Abolish Abortion Florida, which is behind the effort, says that the goal of the petition is not only to collect enough signatures to make it on the 2018 ballot, but to also encourage politicians to put forward legislation that would outlaw abortion rather than regulate it.
“The Supreme Court cannot make murder legal. Pro-life politicians have passed incremental regulations for decades, but it’s time to abolish abortion by recognizing it for what it is—cold-blooded murder—and prosecuting it accordingly,” the group said in a statement.
It estimates that 72,000 children in Florida lose their lives every year by abortion.
As previously reported, a similar ballot proposal was submitted in Ohio, and would have prosecuted 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 petition was rejected last month by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as some of the signatures collected could not be counted as valid, making the effort fall short of the required number of signatures by just over 150.
Oklahoma Sen. Joe Silk, R-Broken Bow, also 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.
Editor’s Note: Those desiring to sign the Florida petition may do so by clicking here.