NEW YORK – Ahead of a important abortion vote in Ohio, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati says there have been multiple incidents of vandalism, including thefts of yard signs opposing the pro-abortion measure, at archdiocesan schools, churches and cemeteries.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and other Ohio Catholic dioceses, have consistently opposed “Issue 1,” which is on the ballot on Nov. 7, and which, if approved, would enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution.
On Oct. 31, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced that more than a dozen archdiocesan properties reported vandalisms or thefts related to their opposition to Issue 1.
According to the archdiocese, Incarnation Catholic Church in Centerville was vandalized on Oct. 18 when the front door window of the church was spray painted to cover a sign opposing Issue 1 posted on the interior of the window. At least four other parishes had multiple “vote no” yard signs vandalized or stolen as well.
There were also more than a dozen other church properties, Catholic high schools and cemeteries that have reported thefts of “vote no” yard signs, the archdiocese said.
In response, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati said he is grateful to archdiocesan leaders who have remained “steadfast” in their opposition to the ballot measure.
“I am grateful to all our priests and other parish and school leaders who have maintained steadfast opposition to Issue 1 despite the many challenges presented, including theft and vandalism,” Schnurr told Crux in a statement.
“We remain committed to the protection of and care for women, children and families regardless of the outcome of this election,” Schnurr said.
In October, Ohio voters rejected a different ballot measure, also called Issue 1, which would have made it more difficult to change the state’s constitution by requiring a 60 percent supermajority threshold for constitutional amendments, as opposed to the current simple majority.
Because voters knew the other Issue 1 vote was around the corner, many viewed the amendment’s rejection as a proxy vote for the abortion measure, in the sense that approving it would make it harder to pass the abortion amendment and vice-versa.
At the time, Brian Hickey, executive director of the Ohio Catholic Conference, disagreed, telling Crux that “we certainly did not see it as a pure proxy vote,” and that they don’t view defeating the abortion measure on November 7 as “an impossible task.”
If the abortion measure were to pass, it would put the state’s six-week abortion ban in limbo.
Proponents of Issue 1 argue that the constitutional amendment ensures people can make the best decisions for themselves and their families, protecting patients and families from extreme abortion bans, and preventing the government from jailing patients who seek abortion or miscarriage care and doctors who provide that care.
“Vote YES to keep the government out of our family’s personal decisions,” an official readout states. “Ohioans agree that abortion is a personal, private decision that should be up to women and their families, not the government.”
Conversely, according to the readout, opponents of Issue 1 argue that the amendment establishes abortion-on-demand through all nine months or pregnancy, erases parental rights by not requiring parental notification for abortions and other procedures, and eliminates health and safety protections for women by abolishing the requirement that abortions must be performed in-person by a licensed doctor.
“Issue 1 is a dangerous attack on the unborn, women, and parents,” the readout states.
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