Oxford City Council approves resolution of dissent on abortion ruling

During its Sept. 20 meeting in front of a filled courthouse audience of 40 Oxford-area residents, Oxford City Council unanimously approved a resolution of dissent against the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade.

The letter was brought before the council in the form of a resolution prepared by Councilmember Amber Franklin and was also sponsored by Councilmember Alex French.

While the resolution is largely symbolic and will not be able to directly change any regulations on abortion access in the area, it still brought out a crowd of citizens who spent nearly two hours making comments on both sides of the issue.

Franklin opened up the resolution with an open letter.

“We have had three months to witness the havoc, chaos, and harm being inflicted on the lives of people who are pregnant as a result of bans and severe restrictions on access to abortion care across this nation,” Franklin said. “... Comprehensive reproductive health care is essential for women, for people with wombs, and this care should be between the individual and their health care provider, not judges, lawyers or politicians.”

Afterward, groups on both sides of the issue including the Students for Life at Miami University, The League of Women Voters of Oxford, the Feminist Club at Miami, and local church representatives, alongside Oxford residents were in attendance and spoke their thoughts.

During this time, personal stories of lives post-abortion, both positive and negative were shared. One Student for Life representative held a 26-week-old plastic model of a fetus and described a dilation and the evacuation abortion procedure. Tears were shared in support and gratitude for the resolution. Prayers were recited. A poster of a fetus was held up by a pro-life supporter, next to signs reading “I am the pro-life generation.”

Oxford resident Megan Kuykendoll came to the podium to share her support for the resolution.

“While this is only symbolic, it’s important to have these conversations at a local level in addition to state and federal levels,” Kuykendoll said.

Nicholas Perry, a graduate student at Miami University who said he was pro-life, spoke against the resolution.

“You shouldn’t pass something that’s going to divide this city, the council hasn’t the jurisdiction to make change, so why pass something that’s not going to do anything,” Perry said.

At the end of public comments, Oxford Mayor William Snavely addressed the crowd.

“I think we’ve really heard a wide range of opinions on the subject, and I thank every one of you for coming,” he said. “I think that every one of you has strongly held and sincere beliefs, and we have heard the full range of that.”

After comments of support from council members, the resolution was passed unanimously.

In a later interview, Councilor Franklin said that after Roe V. Wade was overturned earlier in June, she felt she had a duty to use her position to speak out, getting there, however, was a difficult process.

“It was difficult, I kept putting it off, I had told the city manager that I would get a draft to him sometime in August, and then I kept putting it off because it never felt right,” Franklin said. “...I think the main inspiration was simply the fact that as a city councilor, I felt like I had a responsibility to use my position to speak out.”

While Franklin heard voices both in support and in opposition to her resolution, she commented on how mannerly the packed courthouse was in light of a sensitive topic being shared from both sides.

“I think everything was quite civil,” Franklin said. “Nobody talked over each other, and nobody shouted.”

Moving forward, Franklin said she hopes the resolution will help to send a message to state officials, who have the power to create change in regards to reproductive access.

“I hope it sends a signal to our state legislature,” Franklin said. “... But the overturning of Roe V. Wade kicked this back to the state and cities are a part of states, and so it’s important for us as a council to let our state legislators know where we stand.”

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