COLUMBUS, Ohio — An anti-abortion group in Ohio failed Tuesday in its attempt to gather enough signatures to change the state constitution to declare that life begins when a human egg is fertilized.
Supporters in Ohio and other states hope to spark a legal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that gave women a legal right to abortion.
The group collected only about 30,000 of the roughly 385,000 signatures required for a November vote, said Patrick Johnston, the director of Personhood Ohio.
It was another setback for the so-called "personhood" movement. It seeks to define human life as beginning with fertilization and is intended to ban virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.
Supporters also fell short of the required number of signatures to qualify for the November ballots in Nevada and California. Voters have rejected similar proposals that made ballots in 2008 and 2010 in Colorado. They also defeated the initiative last year in Mississippi, which has some of the nation's toughest abortion regulations.
Organizers say personhood amendments have a good chance to qualify for ballots this year in Montana and again in Colorado. Each state has a lower threshold of required signatures than Ohio. About 86,000 signatures are needed by early August in Colorado, while fewer than 49,000 are required by Friday in Montana.
Many physicians have said the measures could make some birth control illegal and deter in vitro fertilization. Supporters in Ohio had hoped to alleviate those concerns by rephrasing their proposed amendment to say it wouldn't affect "genuine contraception" or in vitro fertilization procedures.