Activists in Ohio have filed a petition with Attorney General Mike DeWine seeking to put a constitutional amendment on the state’s ballot that would classify abortion as “aggravated murder.”
The proposed amendment would “prohibit abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception, and [classify] it as aggravated murder in the State of Ohio.” Its authors claim that it would not affect “genuine contraception” or “IVF procedures that respect the right to life of newly created human beings”—carefully worded qualifications that seem designed to ease public discomfort about the amendment while not actually creating exceptions.
Under Ohio law, “aggravated murder” can be punished by death or life in prison.
Cleveland.com reports that the amendment petition was submitted by Ohio activists Laura Burton, Anthony Dipane and Dustin Paulson. Although the news outlet reports that the activists are “not connected with Right to Life or other organized anti-abortion rights groups,” the language of the amendment is identical to a bill posted on the website of Abolish Abortion Ohio, a state group connected with the group Abolish Human Abortion. Dipane and Paulson are both associated with Abolish Abortion Ohio.
In a Facebook post about the proposed amendment, Paulson wrote that he and his allies were calling on legislators to ignore “the unjust rulings of an unjust Supreme Court” and “defy the higher magistrates” (i.e. the courts) on the issue:
We’re calling our fellow citizens, Ohioans, Christians, to repent of their apathy and capitulation during this war on the unborn.
They’ve seen their neighbor left for dead and passed by on the other side.
The legislators who are sworn to uphold the Constitution, not the unjust rulings of an unjust Supreme Court, have helped to codify their murders.
Our message is simple and unchanging:
-Repent with us for failing to do for the least of these what we would most certainly have done for Christ.
-Call for, and only for, the uncompromising abolishment of abortion in our state and nation.
-Defy the higher magistrates who have become unquestionable kings in our nation, no matter the cost to state and country.
An Oklahoma bill seeking to classify abortion as first-degree murder this year was similarly pushed by the “abolitionist” group in the state. That bill foundered, but the Oklahoma legislature soon passed another bill seeking to make abortion a felony, which was vetoed by the state’s Republican governor.