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California initiative seeks to criminalize abortion as first-degree murder

(Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)Anti-abortion and pro-choice activists gather at the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington.

An initiative that seeks to criminalize abortion as first-degree murder in California could appear on the ballot in November 2018 if the proponents gather enough signatures from registered voters.

On Friday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that the supporters of the initiative have been cleared to collect signatures in an effort to put the proposal on the ballot. To qualify, the supporters need 585,407 signatures from registered voters, according to SF Gate. The signatures must be submitted to county election officials by March 5, 2018.

The proposal, which had been presented by abortion abolitionist Daniel Ehinger, would ban abortion without exception, and those who intentionally abort a baby at any stage of development would face first-degree murder charges. The measure also seeks to expand the definition of abortion to include some forms of birth control as well as medical research and in vitro fertilization.

"Eliminates a woman's state constitutional privacy right to terminate a pregnancy, and to use certain birth control methods. Outlaws: abortion including cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman; intentionally terminating a fertilized egg; most embryonic stem cell research, some fetal tissue research; and many in vitro fertilization procedures," the summary reads, as reported by Christian News Network.

"Women, medical professionals, researchers, and others, who violate these restrictions would be guilty of first-degree murder," the proposal stated.

The Attorney General Xavier Becerra has prepared the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions.

Ehinger announced the news about the initiative on his Facebook page, saying, "We received our circulating title to gather signatures and work to get Abolishing Abortion on the November 6th, 2018 ballot through a state ballot initiative that would amend our constitution. Please pray for our efforts. JESUS!"

While the proposal may appear on the ballot next year, the measure is unlikely to pass in California, where 79 percent of registered voters have indicated support for access to abortion.

Abortion abolitionists in two other states have also pushed similar initiatives on the ballot. In Ohio, the petition was rejected by the state attorney general because it did not have enough valid signatures. In Oklahoma, the proposal has been struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

Becerra, whose duty it is to craft the title and summary for all ballot initiatives, has reportedly received donations from abortion provider Planned Parenthood for a number of his political campaigns from 1998–2014.

He is currently seeking the criminal prosecution of David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress for his undercover recordings of Planned Parenthood representatives.

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