The law is subject to referendum from voters, meaning voters in Mason can repeal the ordinance under existing state law through a process that involves the state secretary of state and attorney general. Two weeks ago, on Oct. 11, a motion to put the ordinance on the ballot as a referendum for voters to decide on failed to pass city council.
At Mason’s city council meeting, council heard from 30 people — most of which were not residents of Mason — before making a final vote. Of the 13 Mason residents who spoke, 10 were against the ordinance and three spoke in favor of it.
Mason Mayor Kathy Grossman, Vice Mayor Mike Gilb, and council members TJ Honerlaw and Tony Bradburn voted in favor of the ordinance. Ashley Chance, Diana Nelson and Josh Styrcula voted against it. All council members who voted against the ordinance said they are pro-life and against abortion, but raised legal issues as the basis for voting against the measure.
The vote brought heated response from residents and those who came to speak from outside of Mason alike; many have protested against the ordinance for months since it was announced.
“It matters because each city that passes this crap takes one more chip out of our freedom,” said Jeni Keeler, a Mason resident who spoke out against the ordinance. “If we don’t stand up, if we remain silent while our neighbors and daughters have their rights taken away by three or four or seven people, what’s next?”
Mason’s ordinance is similar to the one that was approved in Lebanon; It was prepared by the same Texas-based right-to-life organization that worked with Lebanon officials on its ordinance.
Lebanon and Mason do not currently have abortion clinics within their city limits.
“We love and value our children,” said Karen Borgemenke, a Mason resident who spoke out in favor of the ordinance. “We value life. It only makes sense that in Mason we should also be a sanctuary for the unborn.”
In August, community members and Mason city council members against the ordinance expressed concern for how such a piece of legislature might affect Mason on an economic level after small businesses in Lebanon began to struggle after passing a similar law there.
A survey study conducted and analyzed by University of Cincinnati professor Michael Cook found small business revenue was down in Lebanon in June 2021 compared to the same spending period in 2020 and 2019.