Catholic churches, schools, and cemeteries throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are being targeted by pro-abortion vandalism ahead of the statewide Issue 1 abortion referendum vote, according to an archdiocesan statement.
One church was defaced with pro-abortion messages spray-painted on a window and more than a dozen other church properties had their pro-life campaign signs stolen or destroyed. In one instance, pro-abortion activists replaced a church’s pro-life signs with pro-abortion signs.
“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,” Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr said in a statement provided to CNA.
“We remain committed to the protection of and care for women, children, and families regardless of the outcome of this election,” the archbishop added.
In Centerville, Ohio, pro-abortion vandals spray-painted the front-door window at Incarnation Catholic Church on Oct. 18, according to the archdiocese. The parish had displayed a sign that encouraged Ohioans to vote no on the abortion referendum.
The vandals spray-painted over the window where the sign was displayed and painted the message “Vote yes,” encouraging voters to support the abortion referendum. They also wrote “Issue 1: Enshrine abortion into the Ohio Constitution” and “Parents have the right to choose.”
Between the evening of Oct. 29 and the morning of Oct. 30, pro-abortion activists removed between six and eight “vote no” signs displayed at St. Bartholomew Church in Cincinnati and replaced them with “vote yes” signs, according to the archdiocese. The parish quickly removed the “vote yes” campaign signs and put new “vote no” signs on the property.
In Oxford, the archdiocese noted that an 8-foot-by-8-foot display sign was cut in half and another sign half that size was vandalized at St. Mary’s Church. Every week, there have been multiple reports of pro-life yard signs being stolen.
Other incidents included a large “vote no” sign pulled up out of the ground and thrown in a trash dumpster at St. Monica-St. George Church in Clifton. The sign was found and put back up on the property but later stolen. Several yard signs were stolen from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Cincinnati and a display on its fence was vandalized.
The referendum vote, which takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 7, is less than one week away, but early voting has already begun. Voting yes on Issue 1 would amend the Ohio Constitution to add a new right to “reproductive freedom,” which includes “abortion” and “contraception,” among other things. Voting no on Issue 1 would prevent this language from being added to the constitution.
Although the language allows for some restrictions on abortion after “viability,” which normally occurs at 24 weeks of pregnancy, many pro-life organizations have warned that the ambiguous language of the measure could allow abortion up until birth and remove parental consent and notification rules for minors getting abortions.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has been encouraging Ohioans to vote no on the referendum and set up a website that breaks down the language and expresses its concerns about the proposal called WhereDoesItSayThat.com.
In late August, Archbishop 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,” the archbishop said.