A proposed Personhood amendment in Ohio likely will not be on the state ballot this November because the group circulating the petition has received only a small percentage of the necessary signatures. Personhood Ohio needs to collect 385,000 signatures in order for the Personhood amendment to be added to the ballot. With the deadline two weeks away, the group has collected only 20,000 signatures, or approximately five percent of the required signatures.
Patrick Johnston, director of Personhood Ohio, told the Associated Press that the amendment may not make it on to the ballot this year. “I don’t know what I’m going to get the last week of this month, but it needs to be a ton to get it by July 4” he said, referring to the deadline to collect the signatures.
Personhood amendments to state constitutions seek to define life under state law as beginning at the moment of fertilization, granting fertilized eggs with the full rights and privileges of a person. As a result, personhood would not only put a woman’s right to an abortion in danger, but it potentially threatens access to oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, in-vitro fertilization, and stem cell research. Personhood initiatives have failed in other states, most recently in Oklahoma, Virginia, and Mississippi. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America (PDF), 14 state legislatures introduced 26 personhood measures in 2011.
AP 6/21/12; Slate 6/21/12; Global Post 6/21/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/7/12; NARAL Pro-Choice America 3/9/12