Catholic Conference of Ohio
Thursday, March 4, 2021

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio


The right to life, from conception to its natural end, is the condition for the exercise of all other rights and, in particular, implies the illicitness of every form of procured abortion and of euthanasia. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, # 155).

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.Catechism of the Catholic Church(#2270).

The Catholic Conference of Ohio encourages the enactment of effective laws that will provide maximum protection for unborn persons.

Legislation often involves prudential judgments as to the most effective and timely means for advancing the protection of unborn children. The Catholic Conference of Ohio remains committed to carefully reviewing such legislation, and assisting in efforts aimed at resolving differences related to specific language and strategies.  In the end, the Catholic Conference of Ohio desires passage of legislation that can withstand constitutional challenge and be implemented in order to save lives.


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..”

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

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. The Equality Act, which is being voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives soon, in many ways does the opposite and needs to be opposed. Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith. 

U.S. Bishops Committee Chairmen Issue Varying Responses to President Biden's Policy Changes

USCCB Chairmen have issued numerous statements regarding executive actions by the Biden Administration.  To date, statements have commended actions related to COVIDImmigration, Food and Housing, Racism, Peace, and Care for Creation. Serious concerns have been raised regarding policies and statements related to Abortion and Marriage and Family Life.

Protesters Attempt To Disrupt Respect Life Mass

Bishop Brennan, Columbus, and Bishop Malesic, Cleveland, Praise Pro-Lifers' Respectful And Prayerful Responses

Statement of Bishop Brennan, Diocese of Columbus:

"Today [January 22, 2021] during our Respect Life Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, a group of protesters entered this sacred space in an attempt to disrupt our worship.  I am deeply thankful to the Columbus Police, assisted by Diocesan staff, for the quick response without injury to anyone present.  I want to express my great admiration and thanks to all those attending the Mass whose respectful and prayerful response reflects the joy, hope, and mercy that marks our pro-life witness.  I also apologize to the families present whose children were exposed to this.  On this day, in remembrance of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, I ask all to continue to pray for the unborn who died, for all those who have experienced the pain of abortion, and for those who cannot understand our divine and steadfast calling to champion this cause."

Bishop Malesic, Diocese of Cleveland, attended the Respect Life Mass and Witness Rally in Columbus. Commenting on the protest disturbance during the sacred Liturgy he lamented that "it was sad that children had to witness that display of violence."  During the Rally he urged gatherers to side with life. "May we side with beauty and peace and love and non-violence, including verbal non-violence. May we listen to each other and accompany each other so that in the end we will find ourselves where the Lord came to bring us: to a kingdom of peace and justice.” (Read More)

Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Addresses the Use of Anti-Covid-19 Vaccines

The Vatican's doctrinal office, with the approval of Pope Francis, issued a note Dec. 21 saying it can be "morally acceptable" for Catholics to take vaccines against the coronavirus.

"...when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available (e.g. in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are not made available to physicians and patients, or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage and transport conditions, or when various types of vaccines are distributed in the same country but health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated) it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process..."

Ohio Legislature Passes Two More Life-Affirming Bills

Telemedicine Abortion Ban; Further Protections for Survivors of Human Trafficking Go to Governor for Signature

SB 260, the Telemedicine Abortion Ban, passed the Ohio General Assembly. This legislation would prohibit the use of telemedicine for the purpose of providing abortion-inducing drugs and ensure that these drugs could only be provided in-person by the prescribing physician. Senator Stephen Huffman sponsored this legislation.

HB 431, includes the Protect Trafficked Minors Act. The amended bill passed both Houses. This legislation removes the arbitrary, two-tiered system of treating 16 and 17 year olds differently than other children who are survivors of human trafficking. Senator Teresa Fedor has been a long-time champion of this legislation.

Ohio Legislature Sends Two Pro-Life Bills to Governor for Signature

Unborn Child Dignity Act (SB 27) and Family Forward Initiative (HB 405) pass legislature

 HB 405, the Family Forward Initiative, was passed out of the Ohio Senate by a unanimous vote.  This legislation would make low-interest loans available to adoptive families to help alleviate the costs associated with adoption.

The Senate also concurred on House changes to the "Unborn Child Dignity Act" (SB 27).  This legislation requires that the fetal remains from surgical abortions are humanely buried or cremated. 

U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Pro-Life and Doctrine Address Ethical Concerns on the New COVID-19 Vaccines

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines justified; AstraZeneca vaccine more problematic

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 new COVID-19 vaccines. In their statement, the bishops address the moral concerns raised by the fact that the three vaccines that appear to be ready for distribution in the United States all have some connection to cell lines that originated with tissue taken from abortions.

Abortions in Ohio Continue to Decline

Ohio Department of Health Releases 2019 Report

Induced abortion statistics have been prepared in Ohio since 1976. Several trend comparisons in the 2019 Annual Abortion Report date back to 2004. A total of 20,102 induced pregnancy terminations were reported in Ohio for 2019; including 18,913 obtained by Ohio resident women (94.1%). This represents a 2% decrease in induced pregnancy terminations from 2018 to 2019. Overall, since 2001 there has been a steady decline in terminations. When examined from 2001 to 2019, the annual decline averaged approximately 960 per year.


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