Catholic Conference of Ohio
Thursday, December 7, 2023

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Current Legislation

CCO Testified in Support of the SAFE Act

The Catholic Conference of Ohio submitted testimony to the Senate Government Oversight Committee in support of House Bill 68, the Saving Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which would ban gender transition drugs and surgeries for minors and prohibit biological males from competing in female sports. The SAFE Act passed the House Chamber in June and is now in the Ohio Senate.

Click "Read more" for the full testimony. 

CCO Testifies in Support of SB 101 to Abolish the Death Penalty

The Catholic Conference of Ohio testified this week in support of Senate Bill 101 to abolish the death penalty. The Ohio House and Senate bills to end the death penalty have now received proponent testimony and await opposition testimony. The Catholic Church, in Ohio and around the world, vehemently rejects the use of capital punishment, which disregards mercy, rejects redemption, and ignores the dignity of human life. Rather, the Catholic Church calls for a social order where the work of justice embraces tender acts of mercy, where our response to crime leads to renewal and redemption, and where every human life – no matter its circumstance, race, class, or stage of development – is cherished as an icon of our Creator.   

Make your voice heard and urge your state legislators to support Senate Bill 101 and House Bill 259 to abolish the death penalty in Ohio. Use the following action alerts to easily send a message:

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.

Catholic Bishops of Ohio Urge Action to End Death Penalty

Action Alerts: SB 101 & HB 259

The Catholic bishops of Ohio issued a letter to all Ohio Senators and Representatives asking them to support legislation to end Ohio's death penalty. The Catholic Church worldwide continuously seeks the full protection of the law for human life from conception to natural death. Read the letter here.

Make your voice heard and urge your state legislators to support Senate Bill 101 and House Bill 259 to abolish the death penalty in Ohio. Use the following action alerts to easily send a message:

In addition, CCO testified in support of HB 259 to abolish the death penalty. Catholic opposition to the death penalty is rooted in our teaching that every human being bears the image of God, regardless of the stage of life or circumstance. From the preborn, to the indigent, to the man on death row, the Catholic Church insists that every single human life deserves justice, respect, and mercy. It is the unequivocal teaching of the Catholic faith that the death penalty is “inadmissible.”  

CCO Testified in Support of the Strong Foundations Act

This week, the Catholic Conference of Ohio testified in support of HB 7, The Strong Foundations Act, to support Ohio mothers and babies in their first one thousand days to address maternal and infant mortality. The bill would help improve health and development outcomes for babies and mothers through expanded prenatal, postnatal, infant, and toddler health care and early intervention and wraparound services and supports. HB 7 resonates strongly with the Catholic Church’s commitment to solidarity with vulnerable women and preborn children and complements the support offered through Catholic Charities and programs like Walking with Moms in Need.

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.

CCO Statement on the FY24-25 State Budget

Executive Director of the Catholic Conference of Ohio, Brian Hickey, issued the following statement commending the expansion of school choice and increased support of pregnant women, children, and other vulnerable Ohioans in the FY24-25 State Budget.

“Ohio's FY24-25 State Budget puts parents and children first in their educational decisions by providing the largest expansion of school choice in Ohio's history. For decades, the Catholic Church in Ohio and nationwide has consistently advocated for public policy that enables children of all backgrounds, no matter their income or zip code, to meaningfully access a school of their choice. The Catholic Conference of Ohio thanks Governor Mike DeWine, Senate President Matt Huffman, and Speaker Jason Stephens for their leadership in allowing every student to receive an EdChoice Scholarship for use at one of Ohio's hundreds of Catholic or other eligible schools.

Additionally, the CCO is grateful for budget items that invest in pregnant women, children, and other vulnerable Ohioans. These include expanding the eligibility of the Ohio Works First cash assistance for a woman's entire pregnancy, eliminating sales tax for baby products, an essential provision to stabilize non-profit senior affordable housing, and a boost in pay for direct-care professionals. We look forward to supporting more policies that express closer solidarity with mothers, families, and vulnerable Ohioans, furthering a culture of life and civilization of love."

Click "Read more" for additional details.

CCO Advocates for Prioritizing Families and Women and Children in Need in HB33

CCO Executive Director, Brian Hickey, sent a letter to members of the HB33 FY24-25 operating budget conference committee advocating for the rights of parents to choose the educational option that best fits their children and for addressing the needs of pregnant women, seniors, and children. Click “Read more” to view the full letter. 

CCO Testified in Support of Married Couples and SAFE Act Passes Out of the House

On Tuesday, CCO testified in support of House Bill 199 that would modify the tax credit offered to married couples filing in Ohio. Under the current tax code, married couples in Ohio often receive a tax penalty, as the couple pays more in taxes than they would if they filed taxes as unmarried individuals. HB 199 changes the computation of the non-refundable tax credit offered to married couples, so that marriage will no longer carry a tax burden. The Catholic Conference expressed that the expanded credit represents a step toward a society that privileges marriage and family life.

Also, House Bill 68, the Saving Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which would ban gender transition drugs and surgeries for minors and includes the Save Women’s Sports Act, passed out of the House Chamber on Wednesday with a 64-28 vote. The bill will now head to the Ohio Senate. The CCO testified in support of the legislation in April.

CCO Statement on Passage of the Ohio Senate Budget

The following statement is from Catholic Conference of Ohio Executive Director Brian Hickey on the passage of the Ohio Senate budget:

“The historic school choice expansion in the Ohio Senate budget would allow every student in Ohio to receive a scholarship to attend a school of their choice, including one of Ohio’s hundreds of Catholic schools. This expansion adheres to the Catholic Church’s teaching that parents, as the primary educators, have a fundamental right to choose a school for their children, and public authorities have the duty to guarantee this right. Ohio’s Catholic school community is grateful for the Senate leadership’s support in putting Ohio families and children first in their educational decisions.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio will ask the Conferencing Committee to keep these education provisions in the final budget and maintain provisions in the House version that address the needs of vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, seniors, and children. Public policy must promote the common good and allow all people to develop holistically, especially those needing assistance.”