Ohio city that voted to criminalize abortion repeals ban

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Posted at 9:20 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 10:20:36-05

MASON, Ohio (AP) — One of the Ohio cities that voted recently to criminalize abortion within its limits has reversed its decision.

The city of Mason’s council repealed its ordinance in a 6-1 vote Monday, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported, after two members who had supported the ban were expelled by voters in November.

The measure made it illegal to procure or perform an abortion within city limits or to “aid and abet” the procedure by providing money, transportation or medical instructions.

The largely symbolic measure, which had taken effect Nov. 24, drew demonstrations by abortion rights backers, who called it unconstitutional.

It saw pushback on multiple fronts.

More than 2,000 residents of the city of about 30,000 located 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Cincinnati signed a petition that would have put the issue to a vote of the people in either May or November, drive organizer Joy Bennett said.

Neither Mason nor nearby Lebanon, which became the first city in Ohio to ban abortions in May, has any abortion clinics or is planning any. The Mason ordinance forbid possession within city limits of abortion-inducing drugs, including prescription misoprostol and mifepristone, but carried no penalties for someone seeking an abortion.

Misoprostol and mifepristone require a prescription and are administered in some doctor’s offices, abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood health centers.

The ban included exceptions for “accidental miscarriages,” ectopic pregnancies and the life of the mother.

Similar efforts to ban abortion in other small Ohio cities targeted in a national effort emanating from Right to Life East Texas — Celina in Mercer County, and London in Madison County — failed.

Abortion faces certain restrictions under Ohio law but remains legal in the state following a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said women have a constitutional right to seek the procedure.