Group Challenges Personhood Issue

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A newly formed group filed a legal challenge yesterday to a proposed amendment that would ban abortion from conception.

Healthy Families Ohio, a nonprofit corporation, sent a letter to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asking him to reject the amendment. In the letter, the group said the amendment summary is not “fair and truthful” and asked DeWine not to certify it.

The Personhood group has been pushing for an amendment to Ohio’s constitution to define a human being to include all stages after conception. The group is one of several anti-abortion groups in the state.

Healthy Families Ohio contended that the definitions of a human being were confusing, incomplete and vague, and failed to indicate “the far-reaching consequences of how the amendment would affect countless Ohio laws,” according to a news release.

“We deeply respect the right of ballot access,” said Sandy Theis of Healthy Families Ohio. “ However, as written, the summary circulated by this radical group is, at best, confusing and vague and, at worst, misleading and deceptive.”

Jennifer Mason, a spokesperson for Personhood USA, said the movement has seen similar challenges in other states, often from affiliates of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

“They resort to all kinds of scare tactics that just do not come true,” Mason said, “The only thing (the amendment) will do is outlaw abortion and make it so an unborn child is a human being with rights just like everyone else.”

Tristan Navera is a fellow in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.