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Ohio Faith Leaders Speak Out in Support of Issue 1


Thursday, November 2, 2023 


Lizzy Ganssle,, 203-623-2271


Ohio Faith Leaders Speak Out in Support of Issue 1

Columbus, Ohio – On November 7, Ohioans will vote on Issue 1 to establish a state constitutional right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including decisions about abortion care, contraception, fertility treatment and miscarriage care. The majority of people of faith across traditions support protecting access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Over 250 faith leaders across Ohio have signed on to letters in support of Issue 1.

Below are statements from faith leaders encouraging Ohioans to vote yes on Issue 1. 

C Stonebraker-Martinez, InterReligious Task Force on Central America, Cleveland

“We are the experts in our own lives. Every day we each make decisions that make the most sense for us, and the government should not infringe upon that, especially in regards to abortion, miscarriage care, sexual and reproductive healthcare. For too long, dominant religious narratives have painted the great Spirit, the holy unknown, our Creator as something they are not. In the Muslim faith, all that is divine is truly merciful, and a merciful creator would not chastise a person about their healthcare decisions that came from a place of deep love. In the Jewish faith, breath equals life. And in all faiths, how we take care of our spirit and how we take care of each other is paramount. I am in solidarity with all Voting Yes on Issue 1 to prevent the government from jailing patients who seek abortion or miscarriage care.”


Minister Blyth Barnow, HEAL Ohio, Newark

“The majority of people of faith support abortion access, and so do I. I will be voting Yes on Issue 1, because it supports our calling to protect people’s innate dignity, respect their moral agency and be co-creators with God. Our faith demands that we build a world where everyone can thrive and parent if they decide to do so.”


Rabbi Ari Jun, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati

“My faith allows me to recognize that certain personal decisions have moral significance beyond what the government should regulate. In my religion, abortion is a form of healthcare that can be permitted or even sometimes required, if one's life is at risk. When Ohio passes Issue 1, Jews around the state will reclaim the right to make their own religion- and conscience-based choices about abortion, this most sensitive of topics.” 


Rev. Dr. Amariah McIntosh, Senior Pastor, Phillips Chapel CME Church, Akron

“As a woman who is also a pastor and a Christian, I am voting YES on Issue 1 and advocating that my faith community do the same. My faith teaches me that women are made in the image of God with full autonomy over our bodies including our reproductive system. God has never delegated this power to any other entity, including legislators. This government has intruded on the rights of all Ohioans over the past few years. Women are fully capable of making decisions regarding their health and do not need to have those rights legislated by persons who have no regard for our bodies, our health or our autonomy. As Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) declared, 'there is not enough room in a woman's vagina for her, her doctor and the state legislature.' I encourage every voter to vote YES on Issue 1.”


Rev. Alissia Thompson, The United Church of Granville, Granville

“As a proud American Baptist, I take the call for freedom, including soul freedom and the freedom of conscience, seriously. No governing entity nor law should have the authority to interfere with this freedom, including the freedom to make reproductive healthcare decisions. Therefore, I will be voting YES on Issue 1 this November to preserve the right of each individual to carefully discern, between themselves, God and their healthcare provider(s), what care is appropriate for the individual. This is freedom.” 


Dana Trau & Laura Kuntz, Co-Presidents, National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland

“Since 1894, National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland (NCJW/CLE) has been working to safeguard individual rights and freedoms and today is no exception. As leaders of NCJW/CLE, we feel compelled to speak out to support Issue 1 which ensures that personal healthcare decisions can be made in consultation with medical professionals, family members and trusted clergy. We know that these private decisions can be complex and difficult, and Issue 1 eliminates the possibility of a complete restriction of abortion, without exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the pregnant person by the government. The majority of people of faith support abortion access, and we, as a Jewish organization, are compelled by our religious beliefs to unequivocally support Issue 1.”


Rev. Lynn Bozich Shetzer, Presbyterian Church (USA) Minister, North Canton

“I come from a denomination whose first historic principle of church order is: "God alone is Lord of the conscience." It is a faith statement that means disciples of Jesus Christ must spend prayerful time listening for God's voice to inspire and inform our witness in the world in his name. Years ago, I served as a delegate to the PCUSA General Assembly, at which I was put on the committee tasked with creating a statement to the church on reproductive rights/abortion.  We prayerfully crafted a teaching statement for the use of church members as they made important personal decisions about the sanctity of all life and sought God's guidance. I trust the grace and mercy of God in the human heart and do not presume to be Lord of anyone's conscience, not even my own.”


Rabbi Miriam Geronimus, Cleveland Jewish Collective

“As a rabbi, I support Issue 1. Jewish tradition not only permits abortion, but even requires it when the mother's life is at stake. Reproductive freedom is a Jewish value.”


Faith in Public Life Action uses the moral imperative for justice, inclusion and equity to advocate for policy change that ensures our full humanity is protected by law. We do this by building and leveraging the power of a multifaith, multiracial coalition of highly influential faith leaders to advocate for policies that protect and advance our sacred human rights.

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