Lebanon City, Ohio is the first in the state to adopt a sanctuary status for preborn babies, which means that abortion is outlawed in the area. The city is one of the first outside Texas to vote and confirm such a measure, demonstrating a growing trend of cities and towns interested in doing what they can to protect preborn babies from abortion.
Mayor Amy Brewer said, “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 abortion. We are elected to make decisions based on what’s good for our community today.”
The ordinance was introduced by Councilman Doug Shope, who is a conservative Christian, and bans anyone from performing abortions in the city limits and would also make it illegal for someone to assist by paying for the abortion or driving the woman to the abortion. Those that violate this law would be subject to a $1,000 fine and potentially six months in jail.
The vote to make Lebanon City a sanctuary for the preborn was unanimous, with one of the seven-member council resigning in protest before the vote was taken.
Former city council member Krista Wyatt explained in a written statement, “I am heartbroken to not fulfill my term and I know many people will be disappointed with this. But as a respectable, decent human being, I can no longer allow my name to be associated with the Lebanon City Council.”
Currently, there is no abortion clinic in Lebanon City, and the abortion industry isn’t planning on building one. However, Planned Parenthood is frustrated by the move.
“The residents of Lebanon deserve leaders who listen to the needs of community members rather than playing politics with people’s lives and health,” Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio Stephanie Kollmann Baker said.
Though there were protests against the ordinance, the people of Lebanon City seem pretty happy with the outcome.
Resident Renee Wisser said, “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. This is a good thing for Lebanon, Ohio.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has already announced that it plans on challenging this latest piece of pro-life legislation.
“This hyper-local strategy is another attempt by anti-abortion extremists to stigmatize and ban abortion in Ohio, by whatever means necessary. Anti-abortion politicians in Lebanon have no business interfering in people’s lives and health care. We will do everything in our collective power to ensure this effort is dead on arrival,” said Freda Levenson, the legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.
The sanctuary city movement began in Waskom, Texas, where townsfolk came together to ban abortion with the help of Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn. The pro-life group, which is mostly focused on Texas, has helped about 30 cities become sanctuaries and is working on expanding this to other areas of the country as well. The most recent being Lubbock, Texas and now Lebanon City, Ohio.
Creating sanctuary cities for preborn babies is a great way for smaller, more conservative towns and cities, to address the issue of abortion within their midst.
Photo from Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC/REUTERS