ACLU says it’s prepared to take legal action against Lebanon in proposed abortion ban

The ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood call a proposed Lebanon ordinance that would ban abortion in the city as well declaring it a sanctuary city for the unborn blatantly unconstitutional and said they’re prepared to mount a legal challenge.

Lebanon City Council Tuesday unanimously approved the ordinance following a meeting that lasted nearly four hours and heard from more than 60 residents and other interested parties. was expected to vote on the ordinance tonight. The council chamber and hallway on the second floor of the Lebanon City Building, as well as sidewalks outside of the building was packed with pro-life and pro-choice supporters. After the meeting was over, supporters on both sides were still chanting outside the building.

“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,” said Freda Levenson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio.

There are no clinics or providers that perform induced abortions in Lebanon or in Warren County.

“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,” said Kersha E. Deibel, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.

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.

Mayor Amy Brewer said she and other council members have heard from residents concerning the proposed ordinance. Brewer said the proposed ordinance does not prevent a woman from getting an abortion or getting the healthcare she chooses.

“We’re being proactive in saying we don’t want a (abortion) facility in Lebanon,” she said. “It’s about preventing abortion clinics and hospitals from performing the procedure in Lebanon in the future.”

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