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Lebanon's abortion ban energizes council race and activism

Lebanon City Council unanimously passed an ordinance on May 25 declaring Lebanon a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
Credit: Bentley Davis/Shutterstock

LEBANON, Ohio — Nineteen people have pulled petitions to run for city council in a small southwest Ohio city that became the first in the state to enact a measure outlawing abortion.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that two new activist groups favoring abortion rights — the Lebanon Handmaids and Activate: Lebanon — also have formed in Lebanon, a city of about 21,000 people.

Lebanon City Council unanimously passed an ordinance on May 25 declaring Lebanon a “sanctuary city for the unborn.” The ordinance makes it illegal to provide an abortion, aid an abortion, provide money or transportation for an abortion, and provide instructions for an abortion within city limits.

Lebanon has no clinic that provides abortions, so the immediate impact of the ordinance or its legality was not clear.

A city governance shake-up was already brewing regardless of spirited competition for city council. Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer announced in August that she is retiring after a 32-year career in elective office, including the last 20 as mayor.

Since its formation, the Handmaids group has affiliated with Planned Parenthood.