Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine approved the language of the “Personhood Amendment” yesterday morning, moving one step closer to putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot next fall that would effectively make a fertilized egg a “person” under Ohio law.
Despite the attempts to produce reasonable-sounding language for the proposed amendment, anyone who gives it two minutes of serious thought will quickly see its flaws. This amendment would result in a legal nightmare (can you imagine being sued by your own unfertilized egg??), it would have huge, negative impacts on Ohio’s health care industry, tie the hands of doctors and their patients and criminalize most standard forms of contraception and all abortions, regardless of the impact on the mother.
The language of this bill in written to sound reasonable, but it’s not. And why should it be? It was written by four, ultra-right wing, religious extremist MEN, like “Coach” Dave Daubenmire and Dr. James Patrick Johnston.
It’s obvious from the pictures appearing on Johnston’s website that he has a personal predilection for powder blue suits and making lots of babies, but according to the Other Paper, he is also an “uninsured Zanesville family practitioner, Christian radio host, an active anti-LGBT and Operation Save America activist, and one-time Libertarian candidate for state representative in Ohio’s 94th District.”
You’d think as a doctor and a Christian, Johnston would follow of path of healing and love and compassion. But the writings that fill Johnston’s website, rightremedy.org, are instead filled with anger and hate.
For example, Johnston hates ‘the gays’, which he affectionately calls “sodomite activists”, because gayness makes you become either a world famous tennis player, a catholic boy or a serial killer:
Homosexuality kills. Just ask Jesse Dirkhising, Jerry Thacker, thousands of Catholic boys, Rock Hudson, Liberace, Arthur Ash, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jeffrey Dahmer or any of the top twelve serial killers of all time (who are all homosexuals)
He also thinks we should treat our gays more like Saudi Arabia. According to Johnston: “Saudi Arabia doesn’t have an “AIDS crisis” because “they don’t tolerate [homosexuality]“. Note: The maximum punishment for “sexual deviance” in Saudi Arabia is public execution. And they DO have an AIDS crisis.
James also hates school levies because 1. he home schools his 7 kids (damn them mooching public school kids!) and 2. because “Bible-believing Christians … are against the immorality that is being taught to our nation’s children in tax-subsidized government schools.”
He seems to hate public employees like teachers and school janitors, calling them “the parasites that threaten our freedom.”
He hates the entire state of Mississippi for not passing their own personhood amendment, warning them that “they’ve sown the seeds of death in the soil of the Mississippi delta” and God’s wrath will soon follow.
Johnston is so extreme that he thinks the other anti-abortion activists who helped fight to pass Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill, arguably the most extreme anti-abortion law in the nation, are a bunch of godless heathens guilty of murder because they are willing to support this “compromise” legislation.
And he doesn’t seem to be too big a fan of African Americans either judging by his piece titled “Obama Is an Uncle Tom and Abuses Black Slave Children“.
James spends his days writing ‘articles’ that liberally quote the Washington Post, the AMA and Leviticus all in the same piece, and all with equal weight. He seems to draw on his vast experience of reading the bible, playing dress-up with his family, and making babies, mixing politics and religion and pseudo-psychology into a hot mess of nonsense arguments focused almost exclusively on bashing anyone who looks, acts or has beliefs different than his, especially people who believe our democracy and legal system have precedent over his religious text.
Johnston even wrote a novel fantasizing about American anti-abortion heroes killing evil, foreign abortionists. In this excerpt, a “dark skinned” abortion doctor with a “thick foreign accent” shoots a local sheriff who tries to stop him from performing an abortion on an “eighteen-year-old college beauty.”
Johnston thinks all law should be based on religious law – his biblical law, specifically – and according to Johnston, if we don’t agree with the U.S. Supreme Court, then “We must defer to the rulings of the Court more supreme than they, whose Chief Justice is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Johnston openly admits that we should abandon our democratic system of laws and turn the U.S. into a Theocracy.
According to Johnston “our government has become a godless government at war with God” and Christians must revolt. “The soil in America is ripe for the seeds of revolution.” Johnston is a wingnut to the highest degree – a dangerous ideologue who fantasizes about leading an armed revolution against the federal government: “If a state bans abortion in submission to God’s law and in defiance of tyranny, and the feds intervene with force, would not this be a conflict that God would bless?”
And it’s from this perspective that Johnston has written his “Personhood Amendment”.
Johnston is not trying to make life better for Ohioans. He not trying to bring Ohio more jobs. He’s not trying to expand businesses or clean up the drinking water or protect animals or secure voting rights or do any of the things people typically try to accomplish when they propose constitutional amendments.
Johnston and his pals are simply trying to impose their very-specific, ultra-conservative religious beliefs on everyone in Ohio by changing the Ohio Constitution. Johnston believes if he can impose his version of God’s law on Ohio it might serve as a stepping stone to achieving his dream of a Christian Republic of America. The Personhood Amendment is not about abortion or children or life, it’s about religious extremism and religious extremists who want to throw out Ohio’s Constitution, our entire legal system and our democracy in favor of their own religious text – even if that means taking up arms against the rest of us in the process.