Columns

3 Ohio Christians Vow to Continue Crusade to Classify Abortion as Murder

FILE -- In this Sunday, March 5, 2017 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. (Abir Sultan, pool via AP, File)

“Quit is not in our vocabulary,” Anthony Dipane said when he told the Columbus Dispatch that he and two other Ohio residents would never stop trying to get a proposal on a statewide ballot that would classify abortion as a case of aggravated murder.

Their proposal would have called for a blanket prohibition against the “abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception…in Ohio.”

An “unborn human” was described in the ballot language as “an individual organism from fertilization, whether fertilization occurs inside or outside of a human, until live birth.”

Violation of the new law would have been punishable by 15 years behind bars to life in prison.

Dipane, Dustin Paulson and Laura Burton, who make up the group Abolish Abortion Ohio, fell 158 petition signatures short of clearing the first hurdle in the path of attaining a November 2016 ballot position for their initiative.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine ruled Sept. 14 that only 842 of the group’s 1,006 petition signatures were valid. One thousand signatures are required to move to the next stage of approval for a ballot proposition.

“Our submission did, in fact, include more than 1,000 signatures. However, the way the law works is that if even one signature is deemed ‘invalid’ in any way (currently unknown as to the reason regarding ours) then only the signatures of the county who has the majority signatures on said sheet are valid, with all others being deemed invalid (Ohio Revised Code 3519.10),” Dipane, Paulson and Burton said in a statement following DeWine’s decision.

Dipane stressed the trio was not part of Right to Life or any other formal anti-abortion group.

“We are not an organization. We are just three Ohio Christians who have had enough of the game of football that our legislators and the Pro-Life movement play with our pre-born neighbors’ lives,” Dipane, Paulson and Burton proclaim on their website, AbolishAbortionOH.com.

“They take in money year after year to regulate murder rather than abolish it, even actively opposing the latter,” the About Us page of their website concludes. “The entire aim of #AAOH is to…obey God, defend the least of us; seek justice.”

He who is one person’s Christian warrior is not always that in another’s eyes.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland didn’t refer to Dipane, Paulson and Burton as “three Christians” in a press release issued in response to their ballot initiative, but called the trio “anti-choice extremists.”

“The proposed law would punish women, plain and simple. If passed, women and doctors would be imprisoned for any abortion, even one to save a woman’s life,” Copeland said. “Also, the language would block prescription birth control, emergency contraception, IUDs, and could impact access to in-vitro fertilization.”

Copeland also pointed out the initiative was similar to Oklahoma’s Abortion Prohibition Amendment, State Question 782.

The Oklahoma anti-abortion effort was a constitutional amendment proposed for the 2016 Oklahoma ballot. In March 2016, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling rejected the initiative petition, saying that the proposal would violate U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

While Dipane was correct that no one in Ohio had proposed ballot language that would have made abortion legally synonymous with murder, as soon as his group’s proposal would have, a couple of attempts have been made to pass fetal heartbeat laws in Ohio and at least seven other states.

Fetal heartbeat laws would make abortion a criminal offense if a fetal heartbeat were detected. The underlying theory was that if a fetal heartbeat was detected, the fetus had become a person.

Heartbeat legislation has universally either failed to win legislative approval or has been rejected by the courts. Ohio’s history of fetal heartbeat law was no different.

“The so-called ‘Heartbeat Bill’ was unconstitutional. Multiple anti-abortion restrictions signed by John Kasich have been ruled unconstitutional,” Copeland said.

“When will anti-abortion zealots stop trying to punish women?” she added.

Copeland’s moral outrage aside, Janet Porter, who authored the Ohio Heartbeat Bill when she was part of Gov. John Kasich’s (R) administration, said the biggest problem that is standing in the way of this anti-abortion legislation could actually be anti-abortion activists.

“I’m for any measure that will protect unborn children,” Porter told LifeSiteNews. “It’s time for pro-lifers to quit bickering and unite behind bringing abortion to an end by every means possible.”

Dipane, Paulson and Burton vowed in a statement on Paulson’s Facebook page that they would not let any inter-group bickering get in their way as they continue to wage what they see as a good fight against an evil practice.

“As to what the next step is, that’s quite simple. We will gather signatures again starting tomorrow,” the trio said in their statement. “And we’ll do it again and again and again and submit them over and over and over until abortion is abolished forever.”