The City of Mason became the second in Ohio to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance Monday night.
In a 4-3 vote, the city council approved the pro-life ordinance to protect unborn babies by banning abortions within city limits, WKRC Dayton Now reports. The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.
The vote makes Mason the second city in Ohio and the 41st in the nation with a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, joining others in Texas and Nebraska.
“The city of Mason has always been a safe place for people to live and grow,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “With tonight’s vote, Mason’s smallest citizens, unborn babies, are now safe as well. Mason has taken a stand against the violence of abortion and for the protection of women and babies.”
The ordinance makes it unlawful to abort an unborn baby at any stage of pregnancy, including with abortion drugs, and to “aid or abet” an abortion. Exceptions are allowed if the mother’s life is at risk.
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“Passing the sanctuary city for the unborn ordinance is my greatest accomplishment while serving my first term on Mason City Council. It’s been an honor to work with my pro-life colleagues to keep abortion out of Mason,” said Councilman T.J. Honerlaw after the vote.
Mark Lee Dickson, founder of Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn movement, said cities must be prepared. Mason does not have any abortion facilities, but the Biden administration recently began allowing abortion groups to sell abortion drugs through the mail.
“The future of the abortion industry is not necessarily brick and mortar but abortion by mail or abortion by vending machine at a school or outside of a grocery store,” Dickson said.
The city council meeting was tense Monday with both pro-life advocates and abortion activists showing up to protest and speak during public comment. A reporter with WVXU described the meeting as “unruly” after one abortion activist kept shouting, “Get a vasectomy!”; immediately after the vote, there was “cheering and jeering” from the opposing sides.
While most of the city council members professed to being pro-life, some said they did not think the city has the power to ban abortions, according to Cincinnati Public Radio.
Here’s more from the report:
Council Member Diana Nelson describes herself as a staunch conservative, but says local laws cannot trump federal laws. She says it sets a dangerous precedent, saying a similar ban on Second Amendment rights would be fiercely fought against.
Council members Josh Styrcula and Ashley Chance both said they are anti-abortion, but didn’t think city council had the right to make ordinances in contrast with federal laws.
Mayor Kathy Grossmann, council members T.J. Honerlaw, Tony Bradburn and [Vice Mayor Mike] Gilb all voted in favor of the ordinance.
Dickson told LifeNews that the Mason ordinance is different from similar ordinances in Texas because it does not have a private enforcement mechanism.
“Instead, the way the Mason Ordinance is enforced is through the immediate enforcement of penalties for violations,” he explained. “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 enforcement of these penalties are not dependent upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade or any other court ruling.”
The ordinance exempts the mother of the unborn baby from punishment.
Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances are saving lives in other parts of the country. In May, voters in Lubbock, Texas overwhelmingly approved a similar Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance on the ballot, and Planned Parenthood was forced to stop aborting unborn babies there. The abortion chain challenged the ordinance, but a judge threw out its lawsuit in June.
Though abortion activists have threatened legal action, cities with Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances have been successful in court. In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging several Texas cities’ pro-life ordinances.
Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal and supporter of the Ohio initiative, encouraged more cities to take action.
“Joe Biden has stated he wants abortion in every zip code in America,” Harrington said. “Hence, citizens across America are acting by preventing abortion from being committed in their communities. Ohio is once again taking the lead to protect children, and more cities are joining this movement every week!”
Lebanon became the first city in Ohio to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance in May.