LEBANON - Tonight the seven-member Lebanon City Council will hold a vote on a dangerous city ordinance that would ban abortion and make it illegal to aid someone in obtaining the procedure by declaring the city a ‘sanctuary for the unborn.' The ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood call the proposed measure blatantly unconstitutional and the ACLU is prepared to mount a legal challenge.
"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," offered Freda Levenson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio.
"This law directly undermines the value of the individual lives of everyone in Ohio who has had an abortion or may need an abortion in the future, and our strong and diverse coalition will continue to fight to secure access to abortion care in Ohio, especially for young people, people of color, people in poverty, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and people of varying immigration status who will always be the most impacted by this kind of oppressive legislation," added Kersha E. Deibel, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.
"As Ohio's statewide abortion fund, we hear every day how that without help, whether it is assistance with funds for the procedure, childcare, or a ride to the clinic, abortion can be impossible to access. This ordinance leaves the citizens of Lebanon without the ability to access the safe, legal, and constitutionally protected health care they need. Folks with means can access care, but this cruel law cuts off access to those who most struggle in our communities and leaves them without the life-affirming and life-saving abortion care they need," added Stephanie Craddock Sherwood, Executive Director of Women Have Options/ Ohio.
"Preterm and our strong coalition partners will always fight back against any legislation that tries to limit access to abortion care and support for abortion care. Laws like this local ordinance in Lebanon are designed to shame, stigmatize, and cut people off from the broad support for abortion and reproductive care available in Ohio. If you need an abortion and live in Lebanon, Preterm and all our partners are with you and will fight to support you and your access," noted Chrisse France, Executive Director of Preterm.
"Everyone, including the residents of Lebanon, Ohio deserve access to abortion without judgement, delay, or interference. Proponents of this ordinance say it is about preventing future actions, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every day, people from across Southwest Ohio turn to trusted abortion providers for quality care. Sometimes a patient needs financial assistance, help with transportation, or a knowledgeable source to point them in the direction of medically-accurate information. All of those actions would be criminalized with this proposal. We stand with the residents of Lebanon as they fight back against this dangerous ordinance." added Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.
The proposed ordinance purports to ban abortions in the City of Lebanon ; but it reaches beyond as well: it would criminalize providing money or assistance to anyone seeking an abortion even if the abortion took place outside of the city limits.
The broad coalition in the fight to protect abortion access in Lebanon and all of Ohio includes ACLU of Ohio, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Ohio Women's Alliance, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Preterm, URGE Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, and Women Have Options.
Ohio's nine abortion clinics remain open for patients. Anyone seeking information can visit https://www.abortionislegalinohio.com/#ohio-abortion-clinics for links to clinics across the state.