(LifeSiteNews) — As the pro-life movement assesses the damage caused by the codifying of unrestricted abortion into the state of Ohio’s constitution on Tuesday, perhaps the worst outcome is not even the sure compounding of abuse of women and the carnage of preborn children to come, but rather the spiritual harm this has done to the souls of the reported 2.1 million individuals who ratified this “demonic” amendment.
Voting is always an important moral responsibility that requires all people of good will to properly form their conscience regarding first, the non-negotiable ethical principles that must always be recognized and honored as necessary for the common good. Most fundamental to these is the inherent human right to life, which proceeds from the very nature of every human being.
When considering candidates for office, however, there may be some prudential weighing of goods based on multiple factors, including what one expects may reasonably be legislative, policy, or other outcomes from their exercising the power of that particular office. It may even be morally permissible to vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of legal preborn child killing in “exceptional” cases so long as there are other proportionate, that is, morally grave reasons to do so, such as to avoid the election of a candidate who wishes to zealously expand this deadly practice of abortion.
Such a vote is considered a morally permissible “remote material cooperation” with the candidate’s intrinsically evil acceptance of abortion in these “exceptional” cases. And should this candidate, while in office, act as a legislator to advance these or other unforeseen intrinsically evil policies in law, the guilt for such a sin will be imputed to the politician’s conscience but not that of the citizen who voted for him or her, presuming the citizen does not support any such evil.
However, unlike the typical case of voting for candidates where voters may in fact be guiltless for intrinsically evil legislation enacted by these office holders they supported, this is not the case for those who ratified Ohio’s Issue 1 constitutional amendment on Tuesday.
In this case, it is the voters themselves who are the legislators, which objectively means that in voting “yes,” they willed the enactment of every word of this amendment along with its insertion into the highest law of their state, its very constitution.
This so-called “Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Amendment” will modify Article I of the Ohio state constitution to guarantee that “[e]very individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care and abortion.”
Under the language of the amendment, the state is directed not to “burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against” the “right” to kill one’s preborn child.
Ohio Right to Life described the amendment as codifying “abortion until birth, with zero restrictions, into Ohio’s constitution,” allowing “painful late-term abortion in Ohio through all nine months of pregnancy.”
It also bars parents from being involved if their minor daughter is seeking an abortion and may likely threaten parental rights with regard to children suffering gender dysphoria, forcing them to allow children to receive puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, breast removal, or genital transformation surgeries because “gender identity” could be construed as relating to reproduction.
Simply based on the natural moral law, the Catholic Church has always affirmed that anyone directly involved in lawmaking has “a ‘grave and clear obligation to oppose’ any law that attacks human life.” This is the case for people of all backgrounds and religions, including every Catholic.
Therefore, as is clear, in ratifying Ohio Issue 1, which the voter has a “grave and clear obligation to oppose,” one commits an objectively grave moral offense, which, if done with sufficient knowledge and freedom, equates to what Christian Tradition refers to as a mortal sin, in this case, which merits eternal separation from God. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
Of course, individual culpability relates to the knowledge of the voter and their freedom as a result of sufficient access to such moral teaching or their failure to adequately inform themselves when the otherwise could have. In other words, if a voter has an insufficient understanding of the gravity of Ohio Issue 1, moral culpability may be mitigated.
Therefore, considering the potential eternal consequences of a reported 2.1 million voters in Ohio, Christian prayers for the repelling of this abominably evil amendment, prior to its passage, might now well be directed toward petitioning God to grant the grace of repentance to those who cast votes for its ratification.
Patrick Delaney is a Wisconsin-based journalist for LifeSiteNews. He holds two master’s degrees in sacred theology, one with an emphasis in moral theology. Prior to joining LifeSite, Patrick served for over 17 years in Catholic education as an instructor of Catholic doctrine and a Director of Evangelization and Catechesis at the diocesan level.