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Ohio personhood campaign aborted after signature drive implodes

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 11:04 EDT
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A lone anti-abortion protester demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 14, 2001. Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com.
 
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An Ohio campaign that sought to change the state’s constitution to ban all abortions and hormonal birth control drugs was itself aborted on Tuesday evening after organizers revealed that they had failed miserably at collecting the necessary voter signatures.

Ohio requires 385,000 signatures to place a voter-driven initiative on the statewide ballot. Personhood Ohio said Tuesday that, after months of work, they only collected about 30,000 signatures overall, or about 7.7 percent of the requirement.

After they disclosed their failure to elections officials, the news was quickly picked up by The Associated Press. Personhood Ohio made no official announcement on their website as of Wednesday morning, and instead featured a new essay about how right-wing political leaders aren’t Christian enough — a sideways swipe at Ohio Right to Life, which did not support their campaign.

Ohio’s personhood campaign was just one of many similar efforts driven by conservatives nationwide, who want state laws to reflect their religious belief that an embryo is actually viable human life.

In order to protect what they believe is a human life, anti-abortion advocates have proposed bills and constitutional amendments in states across the country that would make virtually all abortions illegal and even ban hormonal birth control drugs, which they claim “kills” children. Hormonal birth control does not kill children, but it does prevent ovulation.

Voters in Colorado have struck down personhood measures twice now, but anti-abortion campaigners say they’re on track for a third ballot measure this fall. Signature drives in California and Nevada also recently suffered the same fate as Ohio’s failed campaign.

Roe v. Wade, the bedrock Supreme Court decision underpinning abortion rights, allows women to terminate pregnancies without preconditions in the first trimester, thereafter if a doctor determines that the fetus is not viable and, in cases in which the life or health of the mother is at risk, at a doctor’s discretion.

About half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintentional, according to The Guttmacher Institute, and roughly 4 in 10 of those pregnancies end in abortion. The vast majority of abortions, about 88 percent, are carried out before the 18th week of pregnancy.
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Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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