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Ohio abortion amendment in dispute

Oct. 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Supporters of a petition drive to define life as beginning at conception say they'll appeal a decision by Ohio's attorney general rejecting it.

Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the language of the petition by Personhood Ohio, saying the proposed constitutional amendment summary is not a "fair and truthful" statement of the issue, The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday.

The summary lists three items the measure would not affect, DeWine said, but those three items are not in the proposed amendment itself.

If that inconsistency is fixed by either removing the three items from the summary or adding them to the measure the proposed constitutional amendment will be certified, DeWine said, as it met the requirement of at least 1,000 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters.

However, Personhood Ohio organizer Patrick Johnston said the group would appeal DeWine's decision.

"I don't think it's necessary (to file a new petition)," Johnston said. "The amendment is scientifically sound, it's constitutionally sound and I think he's being arbitrary to reject our wording."

Abortion rights group Healthy Families Ohio asked DeWine last week to throw out the summary language because it did not discuss the potential effects of the amendment.

"Healthy Families Ohio will continue to oppose this far-reaching effort to change Ohio's constitution," said Sandy Theis, spokeswoman for the group. "Giving legal rights to fertilized eggs has serious consequences. So, too, does inserting the government into the personal, private healthcare decisions that women and their families make every single day."

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