Catholics and Ohio’s Issue 1
If you’re looking for a Catholic view on Ohio’s Issue 1, you’ve come to the right place.
As Catholics, we are proud to vote YES on Issue 1 to enshrine the right to access abortion, contraception, miscarriage care, and fertility treatment in the Ohio constitution.
Ohio Issue 1 FAQ
Yes, lots of faithful Catholics support abortion rights! If you are a Catholic who wants to vote yes on Issue 1, you are in good company. In 2023, 63% of Catholics in the U.S. said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Almost every poll shows that most Catholics support reproductive rights.
If you are finding yourself with discomfort around abortion or even some of what you have heard from parts of the pro-choice movement, you are not alone. While Catholics for Choice fiercely supports abortion access, we know that abortion — like birth, miscarriage, and other aspects of pregnancy — can be morally complex. As Catholics for Choice, we have prayed, spoken with our community members, examined our consciences, read the Bible, and done our theology homework, and we have come to the faithful conclusion that we are called to support reproductive rights.
The Bible does not ban abortion. In fact, the word “abortion” does not even appear once in the Bible. Scripture suggests that fetuses shouldn’t have legal personhood. For example, Exodus 21:22-25 says the punishment for killing a woman is greater than the punishment for causing a woman to have a miscarriage.
Given how much time and money Catholic dioceses in Ohio have spent campaigning against Issue 1, you might think that Jesus frequently preached about abortion. The Gospels tell us that this was not the case. Instead, Jesus teaches that we must “love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus also reaches out particularly to stigmatized women who were ostracized because of perceived sexual sin, such as the Samaritan women (John 4:4-42), the women caught in adultery who is about to be stoned (John 8:1-11), and the women who had menstrual bleeding for seven years (Luke 8:43-48). As pro-choice Catholics, we know that Jesus would have welcomed people who have had abortions to his table.
Only 8% of Catholics agree with the Catholic hierarchy’s official position that abortion should be banned outright. Pro-choice Catholics are the majority, but you wouldn’t know it because of the millions of dollars Catholic bishops have spent trying to silence us.
In Catholicism, following your conscience is important — so important, in fact, that the catechism says that acting against your conscience is a sin (para. 1790). As pro-choice Catholics, we have discerned that banning abortion is wrong and that protecting reproductive freedom is a crucial part of social justice. Just listen to this pro-choice testimony from Gabrielle, a Catholic mother in Ohio: “No one should ever be forced to be pregnant. Neither the government nor the church should have any role in the decision — it belongs to each individual pregnant person and their doctor. As a faithful pro-choice Catholic, I am compelled to support The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Amendment.”
There’s nothing radical about choice and the right to make our own medical decisions. There has been a lot of misinformation about Issue 1, but what the amendment will do is simple: enshrine the right to have an abortion in Ohio’s constitution. If you are one of the 68% of Catholics who didn’t want Roe v. Wade overturned, voting on Issue 1 is your opportunity to ensure abortion is safe and legal in Ohio.
As Catholics, we believe that Issue 1 will protect women — and all people — and their dignity. But don’t just take our word for it: Head to www.readtheamendment.com and read the amendment yourself so that you can follow your conscience as a Catholic.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need to have an abortion, abortion bans in Ohio can affect you, or someone you love. Laws meant to target abortion can prevent doctors from providing miscarriage care or even saving someone’s life if there are pregnancy complications. As Catholics, we are called to protect the women in our lives. Ohio’s restrictions on abortion could impact your own ability to build a family and even threaten the lives of people you care about. Voting for Issue 1 means voting for women’s health and safety, and the health and safety of all our families.
The Catholic faith calls us to respect the religious freedom of all people. It’s important to remember that freedom of religion not only protects our right to practice our faith — it also guarantees the right to be free from others’ religious beliefs. The question of when life begins is ultimately theological, and one particular group’s beliefs should never be codified into law. Most other religions actually support abortion rights. For example, most interpreters of Jewish law say that life begins at first breath and that abortion is ethically required if the mother’s life is in danger. So, abortion bans and restrictions take away their religious freedom. That’s why Issue 1 will be a big success for religious freedom — by enshrining the right to abortion into the state’s constitution, Issue 1 will prevent the religious beliefs of a few from being written into law for all.