Mason Council votes tonight on repeal of sanctuary city for the unborn ordinance

More than 150 people jammed into the Mason City Building's council chamber, overflow room and lobby to express their opinion about a proposed anti-abortion ordinance being reviewed by a Mason City Council committee that is similar to one adopted in May by Lebanon City Council. ED RICHTER/STAFF

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More than 150 people jammed into the Mason City Building's council chamber, overflow room and lobby to express their opinion about a proposed anti-abortion ordinance being reviewed by a Mason City Council committee that is similar to one adopted in May by Lebanon City Council. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Mason’s controversial sanctuary city for the unborn ordinance, criminalizing abortions — which Mason City Council passed Oct. 25 and is the subject of a possible referendum this spring — could be repealed by the newly elected council tonight.

City Council will meet at 7 p.m. today at the Mason Municipal Building and will consider an emergency ordinance to repeal the sanctuary city for the unborn ordinance. Five votes from the seven-member council are needed to adopt the ordinance as an emergency measure to take immediate effect.

If there are not five votes, council can adopt the ordinance with a majority vote that will take effect 30 days after passage.

ExploreReferendum sought on Mason’s sanctuary city for the unborn decision

Just more than a week after the ordinance was approved, two of the four members who supported the ordinance, former councilmen Mike Gilb and TJ Honerlaw, lost their seats in the Nov. 2 election.

The ordinance, which was supposed to go into effect on Nov. 26, was stopped after petitions were filed seeking a referendum. According to Brian Sleeth, Warren County elections director, the petitions were validated and returned to the city last Friday for final action.

The ordinance that the previous council adopted cannot stop medical practices from opening in Mason, whether they provide abortions or not. It does, however, make performing or getting an abortion anywhere within the city limits of Mason illegal.

ExploreMason city council passes ban on abortions in city limits

In addition to prohibiting a person from procuring or performing an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy inside the city limits, the ordinance also outlaws any person from providing transportation to or from an abortion provider; giving instructions over the telephone, the internet, or any other medium of communication regarding self-administered abortion; providing money with the knowledge that it will be used to pay for an abortion or the costs associated in obtaining an abortion; providing abortion doula services; or coercing or pressuring a pregnant mother to have an abortion against her will.

The ordinance also makes it unlawful for any person to possess or distribute abortion-inducing drugs in the city. It does not ban the morning-after pill or any other form of birth control or contraceptive.

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