Catholic bishops have strongly rebuked the amendment for months. In late August, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr urged “Catholics and all people of goodwill to oppose this very harmful amendment.”
“This amendment could harm women by eliminating safety regulations on abortion clinics in Ohio, harm families by removing the rights of parents to consent to abortion or other reproductive decisions of their minor children, and enable the abortion of preborn children in the womb up to nine months,” Schnurr said.
Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson criticized Ohio’s Catholic bishops in a statement when announcing the billboard campaign.
“In the same way bishops are organizing their parishes to try to defeat Issue 1, so too must pro-choice religious groups mobilize to say: ‘Not in the name of our faith will you take away fundamental freedoms,’” Manson said. “Ohio’s Catholic bishops are pulling out all the stops to stigmatize and silence pro-choice Catholics across the state.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church expressly states that “formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense,” which causes “irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.”
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” the catechism teaches. “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.”
In 2000, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the organization is not “an authentic Catholic voice” but rather “an arm of the abortion lobby” whose activity is “directed to rejection and distortion of Catholic teaching about the respect and protection due to defenseless unborn human life.”
Much of its support comes from non-Catholic donors, including about $50 million since 2000 from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which is associated with billionaire business magnate and philanthropist Warren Buffett, a self-described agnostic.