The recent off-year election was not a good one for the pro-life movement. One big disappointment was the vote on Ohio Issue 1 which creates a constitutional right to abortion in what has been a pro-life state.
The 57 to 43 percent vote, in favor of Issue 1, opens the door for legal late-term abortions and the negation of parental rights and health and safety protections, which Ohio pro-lifers have worked for decades to attain.
In 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a heartbeat law that banned abortion after embryonic cardiac activity is detected — normally at about 6 weeks gestation. The law has been under a court challenge ever since.
The 2022 Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade returned responsibility for abortion policy to the states. That should have smoothed the path for enactment of Ohio’s heartbeat law. But instead, a coalition of abortion industry lobbyists and far-left organizations launched a ballot initiative, Issue 1. They spent $35 million branding the pro-life movement as “extreme.”
Direct-to-voters ballot initiatives allow out-of-state actors to bypass elected bodies. Carol Tobias, President of National Right to Life warns that the rise of such initiatives risks making state legislatures obsolete.
One shocking statistic regarding this vote is that 24 percent of self-described “white evangelical or born-again Christians” supported Issue 1.
One would have hoped churches all over Ohio would have prepared congregants for this vote. But Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm says, “Many churches don’t want to be divisive, so they choose to say nothing,” which leaves the impression that “it really doesn’t matter what Christians think about abortion.”
It does matter.
Author and cultural commentator Rod Dreher says we must not “fool ourselves into thinking that we can sustain a civilization without a religious foundation.“
It appears many Christians need help getting moral clarity on the sanctity of human life. Churches must step up.