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ACLU’s ‘Abortion is legal in Ohio’ billboard takes aim at Lebanon

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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LEBANON, Ohio (WXIX) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio bought billboard space in Lebanon to remind “Ohioans that abortion is legal in the state.”

The billboard at SR-48 and Mason Morrow Millgrove Road comes two months after the Lebanon City Council voted to make abortions illegal in the town.

The sign itself is posted just outside the Lebanon city limits, but the ACLU of Ohio says it is a clear message to everyone who lives here.

“We put up the billboard in reaction to an ordinance passed by the city of Lebanon,” Freda Levenson, Legal Director for ACLU of Ohio, said. “The ordinance is meant to stigmatize abortion and to interfere with the availability of critical health care.”

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.

Council Member Adam Matthews says his position on the ordinance remains the same now as it was in May.

“I’m glad that we passed this ordinance. I’m happy that we sponsored it,” Matthews said. “It’s been seven weeks and we’ve had no legal action against it because we did the work. We wrote it in a way that fits with the abortion jurist prudence and we expect it to withstand any legal challenge if there ever is one.”

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

“The ordinance claims that Roe v. Wade is not the law of the land,” Levenson said. “That’s pretty extreme rhetoric. Roe v. Wade still is the law of the land.”

With no abortion clinics in Lebanon, Council Member Matthews says there is no increased denial of access for abortions.

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