Mason City Council votes to repeal abortion ban

‘Sanctuary city’ no more.
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 12:21 PM EST
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MASON, Ohio (WXIX) - Mason City Council on Monday night voted 6-1 to repeal the city-wide abortion ban.

The ban initially passed 4-3 in October. It made Mason a so-called “sanctuary city for the unborn,” by imposing criminal penalties on those who get or assist someone in getting an abortion. It also banned providing money or assistance to anyone seeking an abortion, even if the abortion took place outside of the city limits.

But Mason residents in November voted out two council members who had supported the initial ordinance, including council member TJ Honerlaw, who sponsored the ordinance.

Honerlaw received the fewest votes of the eight candidates who ran for the four open seats. The two sitting council members who won their races, both Republicans, voted against the ban.

The turnover all but guaranteed Monday’s outcome.

Councilmember Ashley Chance said it was a “misconception” that the ban would ever stop abortions.

“This was not adopted to save unborn lives,” he said. “This was a political move during an election.”

Vice Mayor Diana Nelson argued the ban was against federal law.

“We are not voting on a pro-choice or pro-life issue. This has nothing to do with abortion,” she said prior to the council vote. “This is not an ordinance that can be enforced.”

The only council member to vote against repealing the abortion ban was Kathy Grossman, who voted in favor of the ban in October.

Separately, a referendum effort began before Thanksgiving. Around 2,000 signatures were submitted to the Board of Elections last week, more than 500 over the required number to get the referendum on the ballot.

A similar ordinance was passed in Lebanon earlier this year.

There are no abortion clinics in Lebanon and Mason.

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