CELINA — After councilors in two Warren County communities approved local abortion bans, another city in the region has chosen to take up the controversial topic.
Celina’s City Council is scheduled to vote this month on a proposed abortion ban within their city limits. The vote, scheduled for the council’s next meeting Nov. 22 will be the third time the council has taken up the topic for debate.
In the first two readings of the bill and subsequent votes, the measure was voted down by a count of four to two.
Similar to Lebanon and Mason who enacted bans earlier this year, Celina does not have a clinic that provides abortions within their city limits. Jason King, Celina City Council President said reason for the proposal is partly a preventative measure and partly to send a message.
“I think it’s both. I think at the same time we practically don’t want to see an abortion providing facility here in our community. We’ve had over I think it’s now 80 different local businesses that have said, ‘now this would not be good for us. We don’t want to see this in Celina.’ So there’s a real practical element to it,” King said.
“Is it also making a statement? Of course it is. And I think it’s making a statement, again, in favor of the voice of the majority of the people who live in this area,” he said.
“This would be a preventative measure. And rather than waiting for such things to happen and come into our town and fighting it then, we’re taking more of a proactive stance and saying, ‘not here. Not ever. Not in Celina.’”
King said similar legislation passed in parts of Texas, Nebraska, and the ordinances in Mason and Lebanon led Celina to “investigate that for legislation ideas.” King added the ordinances from the two Warren County communities “definitely” influenced what’s been proposed in Celina.
“Oh yeah, I would say definitely. Because we’ve even changed our ordinance from the original first reading. And we’ve began to look at what Mason had in theirs. And we’ve made it more specific to Celina as a statutory city whereas Mason’s a charter city,” King said.
“And so definitely that has a part to play in it, and we’ve been watching what’s been going on in other communities.”
In addition to the bans in Lebanon and Mason, and the proposed ban in Celina, legislation has been drafted in the Ohio House that would also enact a similar ban statewide. Hannah Servedio, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, a legislative and lobbying pro-choice organization in Ohio, said these moves are being made in communities and states due to the uncertain future of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
“These state ordinances stem from a framework that was built in Texas and have now spread throughout the country including to Ohio. They are attempting to ban abortion within city limits. We know that because the future of Roe v. Wade is uncertain, local and state legislatures are trying to capitalize on the moment and push through as many of these unconstitutional restrictions as they can,” Servedio said.
Servedio argues while proponents say the legislation is only a preventative measure, it actually hurts people who are looking for financial assistance or medical information.
“Sometimes a patient needs financial assistance, help with transportation or a knowledgeable source to point them in the direction of medically accurate information. Information that presents them with all of their pregnancy-related choices which includes abortion,” she said.
“All of these actions could be criminalized with these proposals. The fact is that every day, people from across Ohio turn to trusted abortion providers for quality care.”
While the third debate and city council vote is still days away, King said if the measure fails for a third time he thinks it will not be re-introduced on the city council level but could reach voters.
“At this time I don’t think there’s any plan to re-introduce this. If council makes their decision, it’ll probably be – I don’t see people changing their minds on the issue,” King said.
“But I definitely know there’s a lot of talk already in our community that if council won’t pass this that many in the community are already talking about a ballot initiative to put this on the ballot and let the people of Celina decide, ultimately, by a vote.”
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