Ohio Voters Shoot Down “Personhood” Initiative

The “Personhood” law in Ohio was shot down on Tuesday as voters refused to sign a petition to vote on the law. Personhood would have rewritten the state constitution to declare that life begins when a human egg is fertilized. The initiative was put in front of Ohio voters in the hopes of gaining enough signatures to place the bill on the state’s November ballot.

The anti-abortion group that sponsored the bill was attempting to challenge the 1973 Supreme court case of Roe v. Wage which upheld a women’s right to have an abortion up until the fetus is viable outside of the womb, a period of 22 to 24 weeks.

The anti-abortion bill collected 30,000 of the needed 385,000 signatures to be placed on the November ballot according to Patrick Johnston, director of Personhood Ohio.

The Personhood movement has come under fire because of its hardline stance on abortion which would ban the practice even in cases of rape or incest. According to the group they will continue to push forward with their signature campaign well into 2013.

The same movement failed to gain the signatures required for a vote in Nevada and another in California. In 2008 and 2010 the Personhood movement managed to reach ballots but was shot down by voters. Personhood has also been defeated in Mississippi, despite that state having some of the toughest abortion regulations in the United States.

In the meantime organizers believe they will once again make the ballot in Colorado and potentially in Montana, both which feature a lower signature requirement than Ohio.

In the meantime physicians have fought against the Personhood movement, arguing that it could make birth control illegal as well as the practice of in vitro fertilization.