In Ohio, three residents gathered petition signatures to propose a state constitutional amendment designating abortion as “aggravated murder.”
The initiative petition – submitted on Friday, September 2 – seeks “to criminalize the killing, known as ‘abortion,’ of all pre-born human beings in the Ohio Constitution.”
The proposed amendment would “prohibit abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception, and classifying it as aggravated murder in the State of Ohio.”
In addition, according to the petition, the proposed law would not:
- Affect genuine contraception that acts solely by preventing the creation of a new human being.
- Affect human “eggs” or oocytes prior to the beginning of the life of a new human being.
- Affect reproductive technology or IVF procedures that respect the right to life of newly created human beings.
The amendment states: “Whoever violates this section is guilty of aggravated murder, and shall be punished in accordance with the penalties for that crime…”
It defines “abortion” as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance of device to intentionally kill an unborn human.”
The proposed amendment defines “unborn human” as “an individual organism of the species Homo sapiens from fertilization, whether fertilization occurs inside or outside of a human, until live birth.”
This initiative petition the first step in a long process that would eventually see the issue on the ballot for Ohio residents to vote on.
This first step requires two things in order to proceed: (1) at least 1,000 signatures from registered voters, and (2) approval from the state’s Attorney General based on whether the petition language accurately represents that of the proposed amendment.
The latter has nothing to do with whether or not the Attorney General agrees with the proposed amendment.
As long as those two conditions are met, the process can continue. Upon approval, the next step would be for the backers to gather 305,591 signatures from around the state. If that step is successfully accomplished, the issue can be placed on the ballot for a vote.
At this point, the earliest the issue will appear on the ballot is 2017.