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HomeFeminismSimply When You Thought the Abortion Battle in Ohio Was Settled

Simply When You Thought the Abortion Battle in Ohio Was Settled


In cities and states throughout the U.S., anti-abortion activists—from Ohio to Texas—proceed towards their finish aim: a nationwide ban on abortion.

Supporters of Ohio Subject 1 cheer as outcomes are available in at a watch celebration hosted by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights on Nov. 7, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. The modification handed, codifying reproductive rights within the Ohio structure, together with contraception, fertility remedy and the correct to abortion. (Andrew Spear / Getty Pictures)

Abortion gained massive in Ohio final month, when 57 % of voters permitted Subject 1—a citizen-initiated referendum to jot down protections for reproductive freedoms, together with abortion, into the state structure. The victory got here after a lengthy and arduous battle. Banding collectively as Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR), activists pushed again towards all of the Republican measures designed to defeat the poll— together with a failed try to amend the state structure to boost the brink vote for approving future amendments from a easy majority to 60 % of the voters.

After months of denial, Secretary of State Frank LaRose lastly admitted that the tried maneuver was, in reality, “one hundred pc about preserving a radical pro-abortion modification out of our structure.” 

In gentle of this resounding win, one may suppose the abortion subject had finally been put to relaxation in Ohio. As an alternative, it’s effervescent up within the metropolis of Lebanon—whose elected officers are presently debating whether or not or to not retain its standing as a sanctuary metropolis for the unborn. 

In June of 2019, the all-male metropolis council in Waskom, Texas, unanimously permitted a municipal ordinance making the tiny city the nation’s first sanctuary metropolis for the unborn. This marked step one within the marketing campaign of Mark Lee Dickson—founding father of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative and director of Proper to Life East Texas—aimed toward “defending our cities by outlawing abortion, one metropolis at a time.”

Since Waskom, beneath Dickson’s management, greater than 50 localities in Texas have enacted municipal sanctuary metropolis ordinances, and the marketing campaign has been prolonged into six states.  

Underscoring Dickson’s impassioned dedication to the final word aim of a nationwide abortion ban, he lately tweeted, “Through the Holocaust, the Nazis took harmless Jews to the gasoline chambers to be killed. In immediately’s abortion Holocaust, abortion traffickers (Nazis) are taking unborn kids within the mom’s wombs (harmless Jews) to the abortion amenities (gasoline chambers) to be killed.” 

In 2021, declaring that the concept “got here from nowhere however God,” Lebanon grew to become the primary municipality in Ohio to approve a sanctuary metropolis ordinance outlawing abortion, which it characterised as a “murderous act of violence.” As Ohio’s sole self-proclaimed “abortion-free” zone, within the wake of Subject 1, Lebanon has been thrust into the limelight as a website of anti-abortion resistance. 

Lebanon’s metropolis council initially appeared able to concede defeat and rescind the ordinance, in gentle of its near-certain unconstitutionality. Nonetheless, as anti-abortion activists started vetting methods to problem the profitable referendum, its members reversed course. Doubling down on the “anti-abortion stance that led Lebanon to develop into a Sanctuary Metropolis of [sic] the Unborn” within the first place, the council permitted a decision declaring that “unborn kids are authorized and constitutional individuals who’re entitled to the equal safety of the legal guidelines.” 

Anti-abortion activist Mark Lee Dixon at Trinity Church on Sept. 1, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas, town the place he led the trouble to create a sanctuary for the unborn ordinance. (Brad Tollefson / The Washington Publish by way of Getty Pictures)

Not one to remain out of those struggles, Dickson is taking the lead in encouraging the council to amend its sanctuary metropolis ordinance in order that relatively than banning abortion, it as an alternative can be tethered to the moribund 1873 anti-obscenity federal Comstock legislation, which “makes it a felony to ship or obtain any “article or factor designed, tailored or meant for producing abortion.” As I beforehand wrote, his effort to resurrect the Victorian-era legislation raises the specter of a backdoor nationwide abortion ban by the use of blocking the conveyance of important drugs, provides and tools—a menace that shouldn’t be discounted because the mere fanciful dream of fanatics, notably given the present composition of the Supreme Court docket.

However, not all anti-abortion activists in Ohio agree with Dickson’s strategy. Others need the ordinance to be preserved in its present iteration, as a part of their authorized technique for difficult Subject 1, which one chief claims is invalid as a result of “God-given rights can’t be repealed.”

As Amy Littlefield wrote, the “turf battle” in Ohio showcases how the “dropping streak on the poll is prompting prime anti-choice activists to trot out quite a lot of anti-democratic schemes to forestall the growth of abortion entry”—together with Dickson’s resolute willpower to proceed carving out sanctuary cities in abortion-protective states, en path to realizing his final dream of a nationwide abortion ban. 

Up subsequent:

U.S. democracy is at a harmful inflection level—from the demise of abortion rights, to an absence of pay fairness and parental go away, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and assaults on trans well being. Left unchecked, these crises will result in wider gaps in political participation and illustration. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Modification, and centering the tales of these most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we’re redoubling our dedication for the following 50 years. In flip, we’d like your assist, Assist Ms. immediately with a donation—any quantity that’s significant to you. For as little as $5 every month, you’ll obtain the print journal together with our e-newsletters, motion alerts, and invites to Ms. Studios occasions and podcasts. We’re grateful to your loyalty and ferocity.



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