A town in Ohio has voted in a law that will make abortion-providing a crime punishable by 6 months in prison and will also carry a fine of $1000.
The town of Lebanon passed the new local ordinance at a city council meeting on May 25, after a 4-hour-long public debate.
Lebanon is the first town in the state to pronounce itself a ‘sanctuary city for the unborn’ – but it is just one of an increasing number of places that have moved in this direction over the last few months. It has a population of around 20,000, and there are no abortion clinics in its confines.
Activists said they will try to take legal action against the decision, which goes against state and federal abortion laws in Ohio. Currently, abortion is legal in the state at up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, with a bill signed in 2019 by Governor Mike DeWine that would have outlawed abortion after six weeks blocked in court a few days before it was due to come into force, CNN reported.
Congratulations to Lebanon, Ohio on becoming 29th Sanctuary City for the Unborn!https://t.co/9KfBzGT51z
— March for Life (@March_for_Life) May 26, 2021
‘Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn’ is an anti-abortion movement that has its roots in Texas, where 23 small towns introduced legislation making the act punishable by a $2,000 fine, as per The Guardian. The town of Lebanon goes a little further, by adding prison time for medical personnel who perform abortions, as well as for anyone who provides access or transportation to, or information about, such services.
Lebanon, Ohio residents are asking why city council prepared an anti-abortion ordinance without talking to voters, and who they expect to pay for the lawsuit the council wants to sign the city up for. Good questions that deserve answers. pic.twitter.com/Qay4Trtow5
— Gabriel Mann (@OhioGabe) May 25, 2021
The law includes exemptions for medical reasons, but those do not include cases of incest or rape.
In response to these developments, Kersha Deibel, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, said:
“Abortion services are already extremely difficult to access for people in Ohio, but these efforts are part of an aggressive, nationwide anti-abortion agenda to do one thing – ban abortion outright,
We will do everything we can to continue to provide safe, legal abortion to the people of Ohio who need it.”
Ohio’s new law is part of a wider movement in the U.S. to introduce new restrictions on abortion.
A week ago, the supreme court announced that they would hear a Mississippi case that could hold enough power to overturn the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe back in 1973.
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