Multistate personhood push kindles abortion debate

January 20, 2012 - 5:15 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Though most Americans say the economy is the key issue facing the nation, abortion will likely be in the election-year spotlight in a slew of states facing possible votes on sweeping abortion bans.

In at least 12 states — including battlegrounds such as Ohio and Virginia — anti-abortion activists hope to place "personhood" measures on the ballot this year. The measures define human life as beginning with fertilization and are intended to ban virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.

Supporters and opponents of personhood will try to galvanize their camps this weekend during rallies, vigils and fundraising events marking Sunday's 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling. Personhood measures would directly challenge that ruling, which established a woman's right to an abortion.