Catholic Conference of Ohio
Thursday, July 18, 2024

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.



CCO Testified in Support of SB 159 for a Tax Credit for Donations to Pregnancy Resource Centers

The Catholic Conference of Ohio testified this week in support of Senate Bill 159, which would authorize a tax credit for donations made to pregnancy resource centers. Studies in Ohio have shown that black women and women of low socio-economic status are more likely to visit a pregnancy resource center. Given the plight of maternal health outcomes in Ohio by race and class, it is obvious that pregnancy resource centers are invaluable institutions serving women most in need. SB 159 would encourage directing funds to organizations whose efforts to support women with material resources, counseling, and personal accompaniment are a heroic witness to the dignity of women and their preborn children.  

Click "Read more" for the full testimony.

Catholic Bishops of Ohio Statement on Passing of Issue 1

 The Catholic Bishops of Ohio issued the following statement regarding the passing of Issue 1:

Today is a tragic day for women, children, and families in Ohio. We mourn that the dignity of human life remains concealed by the duplicity of a culture of death. Though this is a day of sorrow, we are never without hope. St. Paul tells us that it is in hope that we were saved and, “if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.”

Asking for God’s protection and mercy, we must look ahead. Despite the obstacles this amendment presents, the Catholic Church in Ohio will continue to work for policies that defend the most vulnerable, strengthen the child-parent relationship, and support women in need. As we pray for the conversion of minds and hearts to the gospel of life, we recommit ourselves to defending children in the womb and supporting women in need. The Catholic Church and faithful will never grow weary in our mission to help women and families flourish through ministries such as Walking with Moms in Need and other local organizations that provide material and spiritual support and through advocacy with policymakers.

We, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio, are grateful to the Catholic faithful, clergy, and all people of goodwill whose actions in this campaign demonstrated our commitment to honoring and upholding the dignity of life. Your sacrifices prove that the Church will never abandon her mission to support human life. We will persevere in this mission until every preborn child is protected, every pregnant woman is supported, and every human life receives respect, dignity, and justice.

Click "Read more" below to view the full statement with the bishops' signatures in English. Read the statement in Spanish by clicking here.

Mass for Life - October 6 at 9am

Followed by Ohio March for Life

Join the Catholic Conference of Ohio for the Mass for Life:
Friday, October 6 at 9:00am
St. Joseph Cathedral, Downtown Columbus
Celebrated by Bishop Earl Fernandes

The Ohio March for Life starts at 11am right down the street at the Ohio Statehouse. Damascus Worship will kick off with a pre-rally concert at 10am. Speakers include: Bishop Earl Fernandes, Senator Kristina Roegner, Representative Melanie Miller, and more. 

CCO on 2023 November Ballot Issues 1 and 2

The Catholic Conference of Ohio firmly opposes Issue 1, which would enshrine the “right” to abortion in the Ohio Constitution. This extreme amendment endangers the health and safety of women, threatens parental rights, and allows for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

The Catholic Church has always advocated for and acted to protect the most vulnerable in society, including the indigent, migrants, and preborn children in the womb. We will continue to do so by explaining the harms Issue 1 poses to women, parents, and babies with Catholics and all people of goodwill across Ohio and encourage a no vote on this egregious proposal. Ohioans deserve just laws which provide expansive resources and accompaniment to mothers and young families, not proposals like Issue 1 which does nothing to support women.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio also opposes Issue 2 to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio.

Click "Read more" to view CCO resources to defeat Issue 1.

2023 “People of Life” Awards

Recognizing the Work of Champions of Pro-Life Cause

Three champions of the pro-life cause were honored on July 17 at the 2023 People of Life awards during the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference in Toledo, Ohio. This year's honorees are Margaret H. (Peggy) Hartshorn, Ph.D. (from Columbus, Ohio), Aurora Tinajero, and Dr. Kathryn Moseley. Approximately 80 diocesan Catholic pro-life leaders and guests attended the private awards dinner, including Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Also in attendance was Bishop Daniel E. Thomas of Toledo, and Bishop Earl K. Fernandes of Columbus.

The People of Life award recognizes Catholics who have answered the call outlined by Saint John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed in honor of their significant and longtime contributions to the culture of life.

U.S. Bishops’ President and Pro-Life Chairman Respond to Senate Vote on Veterans Affairs Abortion Rule

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a joint statement in response to the U.S. Senate's rejection of a Congressional Review Act resolution that would overturn an interim final rule from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) which added abortion to veterans' and dependents' health benefits packages.

Click "Read More" to view the statement.

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman on Chemical Abortion Drug Ruling by Circuit Court

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, provided a statement in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit partially upholding a recent district court ruling to reverse preliminarily the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s loosening of access and safety standards for the abortion drug, mifepristone. 

Click "Read More" to view the statement.

Ohio Bishops Issue Letter on Abortion Ballot Initiative

The Catholic Bishops of Ohio have issued the following letter about the proposed amendment to Ohio's Constitution for the November 2023 ballot, which threatens life in its earliest stages. They strongly encourage Catholics and all people of good will in Ohio to work against including the proposed amendment for the November ballot and, if it appears on the ballot, vote against the amendment to prevent countless deaths of preborn, innocent children.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio will work with dioceses to coordinate a campaign to promote the dignity of life at every parish in Ohio. We will also collaborate with other Ohio organizations to defeat the amendment. More information and materials will become available as we mobilize to oppose the proposed amendment in the months ahead.

Click “Read more” to view the full letter.

CCO Response to Abortion Rights Ballot Initiative Language

With today’s announcement of groups proposing an amendment to change Ohio’s Constitution with language that eliminates already established protections for preborn children and women, the Catholic Church across Ohio resolves to inform all Catholics about its threat to the dignity of human life. The vague language in the proposed amendment places preborn children and women at risk of losing the safeguards on their health and wellbeing that Ohio has established through the legislative process over many years. While the Catholic Conference of Ohio collaborates with legislators of both parties and various organizations across Ohio to promote public policies that enhance support for women, children, and families, we will also now engage in a campaign to inform Catholics and work with statewide groups to ensure Ohioans understand the need to stop this attempt to rewrite Ohio’s Constitution.

Click "Read More" to download the press release.

Judge Temporarily Blocks Enforcement of 'Heartbeat' Law

Conference Statement in Response to Hamilton County Ruling

The Catholic Conference of Ohio is disappointed that on September 14, 2022, a Hamilton County Court blocked enforcement of the Heartbeat Law for 14 days. The law prohibits abortion when a child's heartbeat is detected. We remain hopeful that Ohio’s judiciary will restore the law and so assert that the Ohio Constitution cannot possibly ascertain the right to abort an unborn child. Catholic agencies throughout Ohio will continue to serve both mothers and pre-born children while the Conference advocates for laws that allow for the flourishing of all Ohioans, no matter their stage of development or circumstance.