LEBANON – This week the ACLU of Ohio placed a billboard advertisement in the Southern end of Lebanon with one simple reminder: Abortion is Legal in ALL of Ohio. This message follows a May 25 decision from Lebanon City Council to declare the city a “sanctuary for the unborn,” posturing to ban abortion within the city limits.
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. A similar ordinance is currently being considered in the Village of South Lebanon. There are no abortion clinics in Lebanon or South Lebanon and none planned.
“We hope this billboard will serve as a reminder to residents of Lebanon and South Lebanon, and people across the state, that abortion remains legal – despite what special interest groups and some local officials would want you to believe. Ohio clinics remain open and services are available to individuals in need of abortion and other reproductive healthcare,” noted Freda Levenson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio. “The ordinance is blatantly unconstitutional and large portions of it are pure rhetoric. We continue to review our options and litigation is not off the table.”
The ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, Preterm-Cleveland, and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in May 2019 challenging Senate Bill 23, a law banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy. In July 2019, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to block the law from taking effect as litigation proceeds. The ACLU of Ohio and others await a permanent decision from a judge.
Featured on the billboards is a website, AbortionIsLegalInOhio.com, a digital hub with information in both English and Spanish about the existing clinics, how to access financial support, and the latest updates on abortion laws and lawsuits. This is a coalition site managed by Preterm-Cleveland, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Ohio Women’s Alliance, URGE, Women Have Options, Restoring Our own Through Transformation, and the ACLU.