Mason anti-abortion ordinance vote pushed back two weeks

Prior to the Mason City Council pro-life and pro-choice supporters gathered with their signs outside of the Mason City Building. More than 150 people jammed into the Mason City Building's council chamber, overflow room and lobby on Monday 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. The ordinance has been discussed in committee but has not made it to the agenda for council consideration. ED RICHTER/STAFF
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Prior to the Mason City Council pro-life and pro-choice supporters gathered with their signs outside of the Mason City Building. More than 150 people jammed into the Mason City Building's council chamber, overflow room and lobby on Monday 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. The ordinance has been discussed in committee but has not made it to the agenda for council consideration. ED RICHTER/STAFF

A vote on an ordinance that would ban abortion clinics from opening or operating in Mason and penalize those who assist women seeking an abortion has been pushed back two weeks, our news partner WCPO reported.

The motion to vote on the ban failed, and a subsequent motion to put the ordinance on a ballot as a referendum also failed, WCPO said.

It will be back on the city council’s agenda on Oct. 25.

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The proposal mirrors one adopted in late May by the Lebanon City Council, and was prepared by the same Texas-based organization that worked with Lebanon officials on its ordinance.

Lebanon and Mason do not have abortion clinics within their city limits.

It has generated strong debate, with some Mason meetings over the past few months lasting several hours and as many as 60 people speaking to the council. Some meetings became raucous, with one meeting in August ending early because of disruptions by the audience.

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In addition to banning anyone from procuring or performing an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy, it also bans anyone from transporting anyone to an abortion provider; giving instructions via telephone, internet or other communication method how to perform a self-administered abortion; giving abortion doula services; coercing or pressuring a mother to have an abortion against her will; or possessing or distributing abortion-inducing drugs in the city.

The ordinance has an affirmative defense, though, if the abortion was in response to a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by or arising from a pregnancy that places the woman in danger of death or serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed, as certified by a physician.

It does not permit prosecuting or penalizing the mother of an unborn child that has been aborted or the pregnant woman who seeks to abort her unborn child.