Catholic Conference of Ohio
Sunday, April 18, 2021

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Catholic Conference Issues Letter to Ohio House Members Regarding the Proposed State Budget

HB 110 Under Consideration in House Finance Committee

The Ohio House is finalizing their version of the state budget, HB 110. The Ohio Senate has begun their hearings.  A balanced budget must be enacted by July 1, 2021.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio issued a letter to all House members supporting features in the current version and recommending areas for improvement. The letter called attention to the Church's strong support for programs that assist people who are poor and vulnerable, and the Church's strong support for programs that help Catholic school students.

Health & Human Services Recommendations
Education Recommendations

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Ohio's Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act

In a 9-7 decision the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against an injunction previously placed against Ohio’s Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act. This Act prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion if that doctor knows that the woman’s reason for having the abortion is that she does not want a child with Down syndrome.

The Court ruled that this Act does not create a substantial obstacle to a woman’s ability to choose or obtain an abortion, and that Ohio has legitimate interests in enacting such a law.

These interests include: (1) protecting the Down syndrome community from the stigma it suffers from the practice of Down-syndrome- selective abortions; (2) protecting women whose fetuses have Down syndrome from coercion by doctors who espouse and advocate the abortion of all such fetuses; and (3) protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession by preventing doctors from enabling such targeted abortions.

Governor DeWine Continues to Issue Death Penalty Reprieves

Governor DeWine issued three more execution reprieves.  He stated in his order that this was due to ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC).  The Governor has issued a total of 24 death penalty reprieves.

The Conference commends this action.

The Ohio Attorney General’s 2020 Ohio Capital Crimes Annual Report, released on April 1, 2021, criticized the state’s death-penalty system as “increasingly time-consuming, costly, and lethargic.” (Read the Analysis by the Death Penalty Information Center)

Governor DeWine Signs Executive Order on Ohio's Unborn Child Dignity Act

Allows Implementing rules to be immediately adopted in order that the Act can go into effect

The "Unborn Child Dignity Act" (SB 27) requires that the fetal remains from surgical abortions be humanely buried or cremated. Lawsuits had been filed seeking to prevent this Act from going into effect on April 6, 2021.   The Conference commends Governor DeWine for this life-affirming Executive Order.

Situation at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico issue a joint statement

The bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico have issued a joint statement on the situation at the border of the two countries. 

"As U.S. and Mexican bishops along the border, we witness daily the dilemma that our migrant sisters and brothers face. For most, the decision to migrate is not motivated by an indifference toward their homeland or the pursuit of economic prosperity; it is a matter of life or death. The situation is all the more difficult for children. 

Challenges such as these require humanitarian solutions. Undoubtedly, nations have the right to maintain their borders. This is vital to their sovereignty and self-determination. At the same time, there is a shared responsibility of all nations to preserve human life and provide for safe, orderly, and humane immigration, including the right to asylum..."

Ohio Bishops Issue Letter of Hope regarding Coronavirus and the Eventual Resumption of Full Church Services

Continued Use of Safety Protocols and Vaccines Encouraged

Catholic bishops throughout Ohio issued a common letter of hope to the Catholic faithful.  The letter looks forward to a time, in the not so distant future, where each diocese can return to the regular celebration of Mass with full church capacity and thus lift the dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

The letter invites parishioners to continue to follow all the essential protocols of hand sanitizing, mask wearing and social distancing. It encourages vaccinations.

Human Life Protection Act Introduced in the Ohio Senate

SB 123 bans abortions in Ohio when U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe vs. Wade Decision

The Human Life Protection Act (SB 123) would ban abortions in Ohio in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned, and States are given the power to set abortion policy. 

The legislation applies felony penalties for abortionists but provides immunity to mothers.Criminal penalties in the bill apply only to “forced terminations” and would not punish doctors treating women who have experienced miscarriage or after-miscarriage care. The death penalty is not part of the sanctions.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio supports the intent and framework of this legislation. The promotion of laws and practices which allow the taking of human life through abortion stand in direct contradiction to the fundamental teaching of the Church.

U.S. Bishops Urge Letters of Concern Regarding House Passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Act contains many positive provisions but could allow funding of abortions domestically and internationally.

The USCCB is imploring the Senate to fix the problem in the House passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that could allow funding of abortions domestically and internationally. 

 The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a letter to Congress. The letter supports additional COVID relief to help those in need stating that "the American Rescue Plan Act contains many positive provisions that are consistent with the USCCB’s priorities for additional COVID relief.  Unfortunately, in contrast to the previous COVID relief bills, the American Rescue Plan Act provides billions of dollars for health care services through various funding streams that are not subject to Hyde Amendment or Helms Amendment protections."  The Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. The Helms Amendment has prohibited any US foreign aid from being used for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.

U.S. Bishops Urge Opposition to the Federal Equality Act

Act discriminates against people of faith and threatens unborn life

The Equality Act may be voted on in the U.S. Senate. Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith. 

Background on the Equality Act
USCCB Statement Opposing the Equality Act
USCCB letter to Congress

U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Doctrine and for Pro-Life Address the Use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine

On March 2, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recently approved for use in the United States. 

“...Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.’[1] However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.  

“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the world-wide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good..”

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