Mason City Council to Vote on Ordinance Banning Abortion, Protesters Organize

Passing the ordinance would outlaw abortion and make Mason a “sanctuary for the unborn.”

Oct 11, 2021 at 2:54 pm
Abortion-rights activists are trying to stop Ohio legislators from chipping away at Roe v. Wade. - PHOTO: CLAUDIO SCHWARZ
Abortion-rights activists are trying to stop Ohio legislators from chipping away at Roe v. Wade.

Mason City Council will be voting on an ordinance that is set to outlaw abortion and declare Mason a “sanctuary for the unborn.”

According to the meeting agenda, Ordinance 2021-108 will be discussed Monday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. during council's bi-monthly meeting. Council says they will be voting on the abortion ban, whether or not to declare it an emergency and “making various provisions and findings, providing for severability and establishing an effective date.”

United We Stand Cincinnati has organized a "Help Stop Mason City Council Abortion Ban" protest outside of the Mason City Council building starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Facebook event. The event posting says, "Our Mayor helped write the legislation in Lebanon back in May. This will criminalize anyone assisting others including education, financially, medically treating, or through transportation in seeking an abortion. This also criminalizes anyone for possessing 'abortion' medication often used post-miscarriage or even to treat stomach ulcers."

After the U.S. Supreme Court took no action and allowed a Texas abortion ban to go into effect, many in Southwestern Ohio were concerned something similar could happen here and it seems it has.

In neighboring Lebanon, their city council passed a similar ordinance in May, which the ACLU of Ohio said is “blatantly unconstitutional” and ripe for legal challenge.

“Anti-abortion politicians in Lebanon have no business interfering in people’s lives and health care,” ACLU of Ohio legal director Freda Levenson said at the time.

After the ordinance passed earlier this month, the ACLU placed a billboard in South Lebanon saying “abortion is legal in all of Ohio" because, regardless of the ban, abortion remains legal in the state up to 20 weeks gestation.

The new Texas law outlaws abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, but then also goes a step further by allowing regular citizens to sue abortion providers and those who help a woman obtain an abortion. The law provides no exception in instances of rape or incest.

In September, Aileen Day, communications director for Planned Parenthood, said the city of Mason was considering such a law.

"The City Council in Mason, Ohio is thinking about banning abortion and taking notes from Texas, creating language that would invite anti-abortion extremists to sue a provider or a person who helped make an abortion possible," she wrote in an email.

Watch Mason City Council meetings online.

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