The Associated Press is reporting that Personhood Ohio, a state affiliate of Denver-based Personhood USA, will likely fall short in its effort to put a so-called “personhood” amendment on the ballot this fall:
With less than two weeks before a crucial July deadline, the group's director says it has close to 20,000, or 5 percent, of the roughly 385,000 signatures required for the proposed personhood constitutional amendment to appear on November ballots.
The amendment defines life as beginning at conception and would ban all forms of abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. As originally written, it would also ban in vitro fertilization and certain birth control methods. Personhood Ohio has modified the proposed language so that it would exempt IVF and “genuine contraception,” whatever that means.
The amendment is clearly unconstitutional, and as the AP explains, that’s the point
Backers of the state constitutional amendments hope to spark a legal challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 that gave women a legal right to abortion.
Personhood Ohio has positioned itself at the far extreme of anti-abortion advocacy, and as Brian reported in September
, the group even criticized Janet Porter’s proposed “heartbeat bill” – which would criminalize all forms of abortion once a fetus has a detectable heart beat – for not going far enough:
The advocates of the Heartbeat Bill have proven their willingness to push one person out of the boat to try to save another. How? By way of the bill's exceptions, its inappropriate penalties, and its counterfeit moral standard.
More established anti-abortion forces, including Ohio Right to Life and the Catholic Conference of Ohio, have refused to support Personhood Ohio’s signature-gathering effort. As a result, the group is relying on volunteers and is unlikely to reach the roughly 385,000 signatures required, says
conservative Ohio activist Phil Burress:
Burress, who headed the campaign that successfully promoted passage of the state's 2004 amendment to ban gay marriage, said the personhood group is going to need close to 500,000 signatures ensure they have enough.
"Unless a miracle occurs, they are probably going to be looking at 2013," Burress said.
Personhood Ohio has tried to make up for its lack of allies and money with some of the most overheated rhetoric you’ll find this side of Randall Terry. As Brian reported last October, the group warned that Ohio would face “God’s wrath” if the amendment effort failed
Ultimately, Ohioans have no business pointing our fingers at the Supreme Court, the U.S. Congress, or the abortion advocates entrenched in political parties for the shedding of innocent blood that Ohio allows. […] Criminal justice is a local matter. God's wrath abides on Ohio for the innocent blood that has been shed in our state, and God obligates Ohio to do justice to protect the innocent from assault and murder, and thereby purge our land from the guilt of innocent blood.
Until there is justice for the preborn, there will be no lasting mercy for us.
We’ll know for sure next week whether the effort has indeed failed. If it does, be on the lookout for God’s wrath.