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Ohio city becomes first in state to pass ordinance banning abortion, becomes ‘sanctuary city for unborn’

Sanctuary City for the Unborn
The city council of Lebanon, Ohio, voted unanimously on May 25, 2021, to become a "Sanctuary City for the Unborn" by passing an ordinance that bans abortion in their jurisdiction. |

A city in Ohio has become the first in the state to pass an ordinance that bans abortions in its jurisdiction after its leadership unanimously voted to approve the measure.

The Lebanon City Council, whose city has a population of about 20,000, voted Tuesday evening to pass Ordinance 2021-053, which bans abortion in the community.

The meeting had a packed crowd, with several locals speaking for and against the ordinance before Councilman Doug Shope, who sponsored the proposal, spoke about the measure.

“We had been talking about some of the ridiculous sanctuary city things that have been done in other parts of the country,” said Shope, citing, as an example, sanctuary cities for those who entered the United States illegally. “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a sanctuary for the unborn?”

Councilwoman Krista Wyatt, who opposed the ordinance, resigned from the city council in advance of the vote, denouncing the political climate of the local government.

“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,” said Wyatt, as reported by Fox 19.

“There is a core group of people who have hijacked the council to force their personal, political and religious views on the entire citizenship of Lebanon. It is not fair to the citizens and is not the role of a city council member to be a moral compass.”

Created Equal, a pro-life group that helped Shope get in touch with the group Sanctuary City for the Unborn to craft the ordinance, celebrated the result of the city council vote.

“Ohio is once again taking the lead to protect children, and more cities are joining this movement every week,” stated Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal, in an emailed statement.

The Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union denounced the ordinance, and in advance of the vote threatened legal action against Lebanon.

“This hyper-local strategy is another attempt by anti-abortion extremists to stigmatize and ban abortion in Ohio, by whatever means necessary,” stated Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

“Anti-abortion politicians in Lebanon have no business interfering in people's lives and healthcare. We will do everything in our collective power to ensure this effort is dead on arrival.”

More than 20 cities in Texas and two cities in Nebraska have passed similar ordinances to protect the unborn. 

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