A city in Ohio made history Tuesday night by voting to become a “sanctuary city for the unborn” as it banned abortion in its small town.
The Lebanon City Council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance in the city of 20,0000 north of Cincinnati, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. One member resigned in protest before the council voted.
“We are clearly saying in our community we do not think it is in our best interest to open a clinic or a hospital that does abortions,” mayor Amy Brewer said.
“We are elected to make decisions based on what’s good for our community today.”
According to The Enquirer, “The ordinance makes it illegal to provide an abortion, aid an abortion, provide money or transportation for an abortion, and provide instructions for an abortion within the city limits of Lebanon.”
Violations are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Pregnant women who seek an abortion are exempt from prosecution.
Councilmember Krista Wyatt resigned prior to the vote, accusing the other councilmembers of “hijacking” the city’s legislative agenda, according to WXIX-TV.
“I am heartbroken to not fulfill my term and I know many people will be disappointed with this,” she said in a statement.
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“But as a respectable, decent human being, I can no longer allow my name to be associated with the Lebanon City Council.”
There are no abortion clinics in Lebanon and none planned to be built.
“The residents of Lebanon deserve leaders who listen to the needs of community members rather than playing politics with people’s lives and health,” said Stephanie Kollmann Baker, the state organizing director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio.
Many community speakers thanked the council for supporting the ordinance.
“I think it’s an important thing for people to be aware that there are ways to protect the unborn and women still have their right to choose,” community member Renee Wisser said.
There are 28 other cities in the United States that have similar sanctuary laws effectively banning abortion, according to WXIX.
Ohio Right to Life applauded Tuesday’s vote, with a spokeswoman saying the organization’s goal is to make abortion “not just illegal but unthinkable across our great state.”
The measure is expected to be challenged by the ACLU of Ohio.
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