The Ohio Project has been formed and is in the process of gathering 400,000 signatures by registered voters to place the issue on the November ballot. Recent numbers show the effort is only 50,000 signatures short with the deadline of June 30 looming on the horizon.
The group will have three locations set up Saturday where citizens can sign the petition.
“The Ohio Project is a group of volunteers, basically, who have gotten together to keep our freedom of health care choices here in Ohio,” said Loretta Smith, Scioto County coordinator for the Ohio Project. “We’re trying to get enough signatures to get an amendment on the ballot for Ohioans to choose whether they want to opt in or opt out of the forced health care — just to basically keep our health care choices.”
Smith said individual states have the power to decide whether to accept the federally mandated health plan or not.
“We can put an amendment in our constitution,” Smith said. “It would protect us. We have the constitutional right to protect ourselves from federal laws. Seventeen states have already been working toward this goal. It looks like Ohio is going to be the first one to get it on the ballot.”
The amendment provides that no law or rule shall compel directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system. It also says no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance. Finally, that no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.
One of the groups opposing the federally-mandated health reform is the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, who issued a statement on the federal health reform program, saying, “Nevertheless, for whatever good this law achieves or intends, we as Catholic bishops have opposed its passage because there is compelling evidence that it would expand the role of the federal government in funding and facilitating abortion and plans that cover abortion. The statute appropriates billions of dollars in new funding without explicitly prohibiting the use of these funds for abortion, and it provides federal subsidies for health plans covering elective abortion.”
The petition drive will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday at the following locations:
• Tracy Park, Portsmouth, across from Kroger
• BMV, Portsmouth, at the corner of U.S. 23 and U.S. 52
• Dr. John Prather’s office at 9002 Ohio River Road, in Wheelersburg, across from Kroger.