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Ohio archbishop warns of November abortion ballot measure

Voter at Booth

Vesperstock | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 08/20/23

After a recent vote failed to require a 60% supermajority to amend the state constitution, Archbishop Schnurr is calling on the faithful to vote.

In an open letter to Catholics of Ohio, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr is urging the faithful to vote against a November ballot measure that would enshrine the right to abortion into the Ohio state constitution. The missive comes after a recent vote saw Ohioans reject a measure that would have made it more difficult to change the state’s constitution, requiring a 60% supermajority to pass constitutional amendments. 

Pro-lifers in Ohio considered the August 8 vote a loss, when the vote to require a supermajority failed by a narrow margin of 57% to 43%, with some 3 million voters casting ballots. With this failure, it is expected that the proposed abortion amendment will pass, which led Archbishop Schnurr to write his letter to the faithful.

In his letter, published on the archdiocesan website, Archbishop Schnurr warned about the proposed amendment, called the “Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety.” He stated that new legislation on the matter should seek to help pregnant women overcome challenges of their pregnancy, such as financial strain, concerns for the health of the baby, and a lack of support.

The prelate said that the bill does none of these things. Archbishop Schnurr wrote

If enacted, it would amend the Constitution of Ohio to effectively:

  • Put women at risk. This amendment would enable elimination of some of the most basic, fundamental safety regulations on abortion clinics, including the current requirement for an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician.
  • Threaten parental rights. The vague language in the amendment opens the door to anyone under 18 having an abortion, or even beginning cross-sex hormone treatment, without parental consent or notification.
  • Allow abortion through 9 months of pregnancy. The amendment provides guidelines such that a healthy, fully-formed infant in the womb who otherwise could be delivered with no issues would still be a candidate for a surgical dismemberment abortion.

The archbishop went on to note that the amendment’s supporters have claimed that it would preserve and ensure medical treatment for women who have experienced miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies. This, he said, was irrelevant as there are no laws in Ohio or the US that would prevent such care. He reiterated that Catholic hospitals will continue to provide treatment for such cases whether the vote passed or not. 

In conclusion, Archbishop Schnurr wrote: 

“Ohio does not need a constitutional amendment that only perpetuates violence and a culture of death. I urge Catholics and all people of goodwill to pray earnestly for the defeat of this extreme amendment; to educate yourselves and your family and friends about the dangers of the proposed amendment; and to vote NO on November 7. Beyond that, we must continue our commitment to caring for women, children and families.”

Read the full letter at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati website.

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