Ohio City Will Vote on Banning Abortion, Becoming a “Sanctuary City” for Unborn Children

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 24, 2021   |   12:44PM   |   Lebanon, Ohio

The city of Lebanon could become the first in Ohio to pass an enforceable ordinance to protect unborn babies by outlawing abortions.

Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Lebanon City Council is scheduled to vote on a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance at its Tuesday meeting.

The ordinance would declare Lebanon a “sanctuary city for the unborn” and “outlaw abortion” within city limits.

According to the meeting agenda, six of the seven city council members are sponsors of the pro-life ordinance.

If it passes, as appears likely, Lebanon (population 20,000) would join about 30 other cities in Texas and Nebraska that have voted to ban abortions within city limits.

The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. It prohibits abortions within city limits and outlines legal consequences for abortionists who abort unborn babies. It does not penalize women who seek or have abortions, and it does not prohibit abortions when the mother’s life is at risk.

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The Sanctuary for the Unborn initiative began in Texas, but now it is spreading across the country. Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, said other cities in Nebraska, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas also have expressed interest in passing pro-life ordinances.

Dickson told LifeNews that many people are urging their cities to pass Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances because President Joe Biden’s administration is aggressively pushing to expand abortions.

“The Biden Administration has said that they want to see abortion access in every zip code,” he said. “Cities must be prepared. Biden is seeking to fulfill that through the abortion pill, which he is working hard to deregulate. The future of the abortion industry is not brick and mortar but abortion by mail or abortion by vending machine at a school or outside of a grocery store.”

The pro-life ordinance has both public and private enforcement mechanisms. The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who helps with an abortion within city limits. However, it cannot be enforced until Roe v. Wade is overturned.

However, the private enforcement mechanism is immediate. It makes abortionists and those who help them “liable in tort to a surviving relative of the aborted unborn child, including the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings or half-siblings,” meaning the abortionist can be sued for aborting the unborn child.

Earlier this month, residents of Lubbock, Texas voted overwhelmingly to pass a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance. Lubbock is the largest city to pass the pro-life ordinance and the first with an abortion facility. The American Civil Liberties Union predicted the ordinance will have a “chilling effect on abortion access” in the city – meaning it will save unborn babies’ lives.

The Lebanon, Ohio ordinance, like the other Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn ordinances, is enforceable. Unlike the ordinances in Texas, however, the Lebanon ordinance does not contain a private enforcement provision but only contains a public enforcement provision. Like the Nebraska ordinances, this public enforcement is not delayed by Roe v. Wade but is immediately enforceable.

Those who are found in violation of the ordinance are guilty of a misdemeanor in the first degree and, under Ohio law, are not to serve more than six months in jail or pay more than $1,000 in fines. The ordinance exempts the mother from penalty. 

ACTION ALERT: Contact Lebanon City Council membersSign a petition urging the city to pass a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance.