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Lebanon becomes Ohio’s first ‘sanctuary city’ for unborn

Legal challenges are expected.
Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 11:06 PM EDT
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LEBANON, Ohio (FOX19) - The City of Lebanon in Warren County on Tuesday became Ohio’s first so-called “sanctuary city” for the unborn.

Lebanon City Council voted unanimously for the ordinance after the lone council member to oppose the vote, Krista Wyatt, resigned Tuesday afternoon, citing what she described as a hyper-partisan political faction that has “hijacked” Lebanon’s legislative agenda.

Three hours of public comment preceded the vote.

The ordinance makes getting or assisting in an abortion a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and up to a year in jail, according to City Attorney Mark Yurick.

It also bans providing money or assistance to anyone seeking an abortion, even if the abortion takes place outside of the city limits.

It is immediately enforceable.

Twenty-eight other cities in the United States have passed similar sanctuary city laws effectively banning abortion.

The ordinance’s language calls Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that permitted some abortions, a “lawless and unconstitutional act of judicial usurpation.”

The ACLU of Ohio released a statement on Tuesday calling the ordinance “blatantly unconstitutional.”

Lebanon does have a women’s center, but abortions are not performed there.

Prior to the ordinance’s passage, there were no facilities within Lebanon where an abortion could be legally performed.

In Wyatt’s resignation statement, she highlighted an ongoing lawsuit over a new ordinance allowing concealed carry in council chambers. “We are now in a lawsuit, over legislation that did not have to happen, and it is costing thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend,” she wrote.

“Multiple Republicans have reached out to me to indicate while they do not support abortion, they do not feel it should be made into local legislation that conflicts with State and Federal laws. They do not support the actions of a group who does not represent the entire party.”

Wyatt further explained her opposition to the ordinance on Monday.

“I just don’t like to limit people’s options to medical care, and I don’t think we have the business of making legislation that takes rights away from a woman to make a decision,” she said. “Her right to liberty is being taken away by law.”

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