As Election Day nears and Ohio voters are asked to make a decision on Issue 1 that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland hosted the Ashland County Community Baby Shower on Oct. 26.
The free event brought together local healthcare providers, community and civic officials to counsel families about resources available during pregnancy and after childbirth. With the support of local businesses and individuals, they also collected supplies that expectant parents need to welcome their babies and give them a healthy start in life.
Kimberlee Sheller, assistant director, Ashland and Wayne County, Catholic Charities, helped organize the event at Brethren Care Village in Ashland. She said all expectant and new mothers were invited.
(See photo gallery above with images from the event.)
The community baby shower was an example of how Catholic Charities and other ministries in the Diocese of Cleveland, including those connected to the Office for Human Life, are ready to help pregnant and parenting women provide for their children before and after birth. The Office for Human Life educates and inspires people throughout the eight-county diocese to be stewards of the gift of life that God has given us. Through prayer, education, and pastoral care, it upholds and promotes the consistent ethic of life from conception until natural death. This ethic of life is the thread that unites all efforts to uphold the dignity of life at all stages of existence.
At the baby shower, there were vendor tables providing information and products like diapers, wipes, car seats, layettes, toys, books and more. Catholic Charities Help Me Grow Home Visiting parent support program encourages early prenatal and well-baby care. With support from the program, parents and caregivers learn about the health and development of children.
Catholic Charities supports expectant and new parents or caregivers by offering resources and education to prepare them for the arrival of their baby. Click here for more information on the program, including a link to a referral form.
Making a referral to Help Me Grow is a first step for parents who have questions or concerns about their infant or child. One referral helps them gain access to many support programs including Early Intervention, Home Visiting, Moms and Babies First and the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program.
WIC offers resources including nutrition education, breastfeeding support, supplemental a nutritious food, iron-fortified infant formula, referrals to health care and other programs.
Early Intervention is a statewide program that provides coordinated early intervention services to parents of eligible children younger than 3 with developmental delays or disabilities.
Home Visiting is a service for pregnant or new parents seeking support to ensure a health pregnancy and to help their children get the best start in life.
Other community agencies including Ashland Public Library also offered information and resources for parents as their children grow.
The baby shower illustrated how Catholic Charities assists pregnant and parenting women as part of its commitment to life. The event took place during October, which is Respect Life Month.
Ohio voters will make a decision Nov. 7 on state Issue 1, which – if approved – would threaten life by expanding and enshrining the right to abortion in Ohio’s constitution. Click here to learn more about efforts to defeat the issue.
The Catholic Conference of Ohio, the official voice of the Catholic Church in Ohio on matters of public policy and government relations, is advocating a “no” vote on Issue 1. The conference mounted the Protect Women Ohio campaign, with the support of all Catholic bishops in the state, to raise awareness of Issue 1 and its implications.
Early voting is underway. In-person voting will take place 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7. The Catholic Conference and bishops encourage all to vote in the election and to vote “no” on Issue 1.
Those uncertain of their polling place should check with their local county board of elections. County boards of elections and the Ohio secretary of state’s office have links and information about the upcoming election. Ballot information for the statewide issues also is available on the secretary of state’s website. Check your county board of elections website for information on local issues and candidates.
Click here for more resources about Issue 1 and to view a video from Bishop Edward Malesic about the proposed constitutional amendment.