Florida – the Conservative Equivalent of California

Lost in the somehow more palatable craziness of the Joe Wilson drama:

TALLAHASSEE — A nationwide anti-abortion group launched an effort in Florida Friday to outlaw all abortions and certain types of birth control, including oral contraceptives and the morning-after pill.

The religion-infused movement, called “Personhood Florida,” would define conception in Florida’s constitution at the “biological beginnings,” supporters said — when the sperm meets the egg. The group filed its amendment today but the exact ballot language is still being worked out, said Secretary of State Spokeswoman Jennifer Krell-Davis.

The amendment seeks to outlaw all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. Also criminalized: the morning-after pill and oral contraceptives taken by women, known as the pill. “There are some (birth control) methods that kill a child,” said Pat McEwan, who is leading the Personhood Florida group.

The amendment faces extremely long odds. First, supporters must gather 676,811 signatures to make the ballot — by Feb. 1, to go before voters in 2010.

And Florida has a 60-percent threshold for constitutional amendments to become law, a very difficult hurdle even for less radical ideas. In Colorado, the only state where the “personhood” amendment has appeared on the ballot, voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea by an almost three-to-one margin.

Even if adopted by voters, the amendment runs counter to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that held the U.S. Constitution grants women the basic right to an abortion.

Supporters say they’re pushing the personhood amendment not only in Florida, but in a dozen other states.

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