Pro-life advocates won another victory for unborn babies in court Thursday when a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the abortion ban in the city of Lebanon, Ohio.
WOSU NPR News reports the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance in Lebanon will remain in effect after the ACLU of Ohio and other pro-abortion groups agreed to the dismissal.
In 2021, the Lebanon City Council became the first in Ohio to approve a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, which bans killing unborn babies in abortions within city limits. More than 60 other cities across the U.S. have passed similar ordinances. The city council amended the ordinance last fall to make the language more clear.
The ACLU, National Association of Social Workers and other pro-abortion groups sued the city, claiming the ordinance restricted their right to counsel women about abortions, according to the report.
But Lebanon city attorney Mark Yurick said city leaders were not trying to restrict free speech, and the amended ordinance clarified that.
This week, the two sides reached an agreement to dismiss the lawsuit, and a Cincinnati court approved the terms, which include keeping the abortion ban intact, according to the report.
The Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance makes it “unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy” within city limits. Abortionists can face consequences for violating the ordinance, but pregnant mothers are exempt from punishment.
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Lebanon does not have an abortion facility, but the ordinance prevents one from opening there. It also will combat the rise of mail-order abortion drugs, which the Biden administration began allowing in 2021.
The ordinance passed before the Ohio heartbeat law went into effect last year when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. However, pro-abortion groups sued the state, and the heartbeat law since has been blocked. The case is before the Ohio Supreme Court.
More than 60 cities in Texas, Nebraska, Ohio, Louisiana, Iowa and New Mexico have passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances within the past several years.
Although abortion activists have threatened legal action, the cities have been successful defending their pro-life ordinances in court, including the City of Lubbock, Texas where Planned Parenthood was forced to stop aborting unborn babies.
In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped another lawsuit challenging several Texas cities’ pro-life ordinances.
A growing grassroots movement is working to protect unborn babies at the local level. In the past several years, other cities and counties have passed pro-life resolutions, which are statements of support but not enforceable law, that recognize unborn babies’ right to life. In Arkansas, at least 20 counties and 13 cities and towns have passed pro-life resolutions, according to Family Council of Arkansas. Several North Carolina counties passed pro-life resolutions recently, too.