Ohio city votes to ban abortion; legal challenge likely
LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — A southwest Ohio city became the first in the state Tuesday to enact a measure outlawing abortion and declaring itself “a sanctuary city for the unborn,” setting itself up for a likely legal challenge by opponents who call the ban unconstitutional.
The vote by Lebanon City Council was unanimous — after one member quit in protest. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that that member, Krista Wyatt, said she could no longer associate her name with the body “as a respectable, decent human being.”
No abortion clinics are located in Lebanon and none are planned. Mayor Amy Brewer said the ordinance sends a signal that the community would not welcome such a facility. Abortion remains legal in Ohio and the rest of the country following a 1973 Supreme Court decision that women have a constitutional right to seek an abortion.
Council member Doug Shope said he worked with Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn in crafting the Ohio ban. The Texas-based group has helped more than two dozen municipalities in Texas, Nebraska and now Ohio write custom ordinances to ban abortions.
The scheduled vote drew dozens of witnesses, testimonials, prayers, and protests, the newspaper reported.
Planned Parenthood called the ban “reprehensible,” while Ohio Right to Life praised it and said they hope it catches on in more Ohio cities and villages. The ACLU of Ohio said it is prepared to sue.