WASHINGTON — On Oct. 6, almost a month before Ohioans will be voting on a major abortion law deciding if the right to an abortion should be added to the state constitution, thousands plan to take part in a March for Life in Columbus, the capital, to raise awareness against the measure.
Catholic participants are invited to attend a Mass that morning at St. Joseph Cathedral, to be celebrated by Columbus Bishop Earl Fernandes, prior to joining the march and rally at the Ohio Statehouse.
The second annual event is co-sponsored by the pro-life organization March for Life Education and Defense Fund, and the Center for Christian Virtue, an Ohio public policy group.
“This year’s Ohio March for Life is the most significant the state has seen yet. Just one month after this march, Ohioans will be voting on an abortion lobby-led constitutional amendment which, if approved, would open the door to abortion up until the moment of birth in Ohio,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, in a statement.
Mancini, who will be one of the speakers at the rally, said the event is taking place at a “critical moment to peacefully advocate both against this extreme measure and for state laws that respect the human dignity of every person, born and unborn.”
Supporters of the ballot’s amendment said it was necessary to protect access to abortion after last year’s Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
After the high court’s abortion ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, an abortion ban took effect in Ohio prohibiting doctors from performing abortions after a heartbeat was detected, or about six weeks into pregnancy. That law is currently on hold in the state, after a judge blocked it last year. Currently, abortion is legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks into a pregnancy.
The language in the Ohio measure is similar to a constitutional amendment Michigan voters approved last November. The Ohio measure would require restrictions imposed past a fetus’ viability outside the womb — around the 24th week of pregnancy — to be based on patient health and safety benefits.
A statement by Ohio Right to Life said that if the ballot measure passes it would “enshrine abortion until birth and remove all protections for the preborn, including a parent’s ability to stop their child from being pressured into an abortion.”
Other speakers scheduled to address the Oct. 6 rally also plan to address the measure voters will face Nov. 7. Speakers include Aaron Baer, president of the Center for Christian Virtue; Peter Range, CEO of Ohio Right to Life; and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and his wife, Tina Husted; and two state legislators.
A handful of states across the country are having March for Life events at different times in the year. North Dakota, the state with one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country — banning the procedure throughout pregnancy with just a few exceptions — is also having its March for Life Oct. 6.
The event, which used to take place in the state in January was moved to October as part of the Catholic Church’s observance of Respect Life Month.