An Ohio city has voted to make abortion a crime.
The city council of Mason, just north of Cincinnati, voted Monday evening to criminalize abortion, as council members voted 4 to 3 to make the city “a sanctuary for the unborn.”
Mason currently does not have any abortion clinics within city limits. Supporters of the ban argued that it would preclude any future abortion clinics from being set up in the city.
Voting in favor of the new ordinance were Mayor Kathy Grossmann as well as Councilmembers Tony Bradburn, T.J. Honerlaw, and Mike Gilb. Voting against were Councilmembers Ashley Chance, Diana Nelson and Josh Styrcula.
“I’m here to protect life. For me it’s a fundamental issue, if the foundations be destroyed what do we have left,” said Gilb, who is also the vice mayor. “I’m not just here to decide how bright the street lights should be or where the next roundabout goes. Those things are certainly important issues but they’re not as fundamental as protecting life.”
Nelson disagreed, claiming that the abortion ban is “unconstitutional.”
“America has a legal system in place to create order in our country. We must follow and abide by that system,” she said. “The supreme court has made a ruling on abortion, regardless of one’s opinion on abortion, creating local laws that contradict with federal laws is illegal and unconstitutional.”
Any person who “aids and abets” an abortion in Mason will become “a criminal and a felon,” according to the ordinance.
Anyone who violates the ban faces up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine for each abortion performed.
The abortion ban will go into effect 30 days from Tuesday on Nov. 24.
Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, a Texas-based nonprofit, helped the Mason City Council draft the ordinance. The group says it has helped at least 39 cities approve abortion bans in Texas, Nebraska, and Ohio.
The ordinance sparked protests over the last few weeks, and members of the public have participated in several hours of sometimes tempestuous public comment on the ban.
Opponents of the abortion ban plan to launch a referendum against the ordinance, which requires nearly 1,500 signatures.
Pro-life leaders hailed Mason for making the right decision on the abortion ban.
“I believe that the people of Mason are compassionate and principled people and to be able to come down here and support them as they fight, with so much fervor and so much passion to become a sanctuary city for the unborn against all odds, it was important that Ohio Right to Life was down here,” said Allie Frazier of Ohio Right to Life.
Mason is the second city in Ohio to ban abortion, the first being Lebanon, located just north of Mason. Lebanon’s City Council voted unanimously in May to approve an ordinance banning abortion. One council member resigned in protest before the vote.
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