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Defenders of Life Rally to Counter Well-Funded Pro-Abortion Forces in Ohio

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A battle of values is unfolding in Ohio as supporters of the sanctity of life have rallied against the well-financed pro-abortion campaign aiming to amend the Ohio Constitution. Financial filings reveal a stark contrast, with those advocating for life having to depend on grassroots support, while their pro-abortion counterparts have received substantial backing from out-of-state donors, including some major contributors.

Photo credit: Alexander Grey

Photo credit: Alexander Grey


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
11/3/2023 (8 months ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Ohio Constitution, Pro-Life Advocates, Fundraising, Sanctity of Life, Pro-Abortion Campaign, Out-of-State Donors

The most recent campaign filings, released in late October, covering donations from September 8 onwards, unveiled that "Protect Women Ohio," the pro-life campaign, secured approximately $9.9 million in total contributions. In contrast, "Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights," the pro-abortion campaign, amassed a formidable $28.7 million in support.

On the pro-abortion side, one of the most significant contributors was the Washington, D.C.-based "Sixteen Thirty Fund," which poured over $3.3 million into the campaign. The "Fairness Project," which receives grants from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, added another $2 million. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg further bolstered the pro-abortion movement with a $1 million contribution.

The pro-abortion campaign also received substantial support from the New York-based "Open Society Policy Center," an organization associated with billionaire George Soros, which contributed about $3.5 million. The "Tides Foundation," another Soros-affiliated entity, chipped in nearly $1.5 million. The "American Civil Liberties Union" and its related foundation and state affiliates donated around $2.8 million. "Planned Parenthood" and its local affiliates collectively provided over $1.8 million. The largest individual contributor on the pro-abortion side was Lynn Schusterman, a billionaire philanthropist based in Oklahoma, who donated approximately $2.5 million.

The pro-abortion campaign's committee, the "Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom PAC," associated with several pro-abortion organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, contributed more than $2.2 million to the cause.

Notably, "Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights" declined to respond to a request for comment.

From a conservative, orthodox Catholic perspective, Amy Natoce, the press secretary for "Protect Women Ohio," commented on the situation. Natoce expressed that it's not surprising to see the ACLU pouring millions of dollars into Ohio to advance its radical anti-parent amendment within the state's constitution. She highlighted that the "yes" side seems to be deploying substantial resources to disseminate what they view as misleading information and fear tactics regarding contraception and miscarriage care in Ohio. However, Natoce emphasized that Issue 1, if passed, could erode parental rights and potentially allow for painful late-term abortions, a fact that she believes should concern voters, whether they identify as pro-life, pro-choice, or somewhere in between.

Natoce's perspective from a conservative, orthodox Catholic stance is that Issue 1 appears to be a step too far, crossing a line that many Ohioans find too radical for their values.

"Protect Women Ohio" derived the bulk of its funding from its committee, "Protect Women Ohio Action Inc.," which represents a coalition of pro-life organizations, including the Washington, D.C.-based "Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America." This committee accounted for more than three-quarters of the campaign's donations. Additionally, two prominent donors associated with the Catholic Church contributed substantially: the "Knights of Columbus" offered $1 million, and the "Diocese of Columbus, Ohio" donated $300,000.

Election Day is rapidly approaching, scheduled for Tuesday, November 7, with early voting already underway. Voting "yes" on Issue 1 would introduce an amendment to the Ohio Constitution, creating a new right to "reproductive freedom," encompassing "abortion" and "contraception," among other components. In contrast, voting "no" on Issue 1 would prevent this language from being enshrined in the state's constitution.

While the proposed language permits some restrictions on abortion post-"viability," typically around 24 weeks of pregnancy, many pro-life organizations have raised concerns regarding the ambiguous phrasing of the measure, suggesting it could potentially allow abortion up until birth and eliminate parental consent and notification requirements for minors seeking abortions.

Recent polls indicate strong public support for the abortion amendment, with a significant majority in favor. An early October poll conducted by Baldwin Wallace University Ohio Pulse Poll showed over 58% of registered voters supporting the amendment, with just over one-third in opposition, resulting in a 25-point margin in favor. Similarly, a late mid-October Ohio University Poll revealed that 52% of registered voters supported the amendment, while 36% were against it, indicating a 16-point margin in favor.

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