How did Lebanon’s anti-abortion ordinance happen? Your questions answered

A city council ordinance that recently declared the city of Lebanon a sanctuary city for the unborn came about because of the work of two city councilmen and a local college student who had earlier sought to have Warren County declared a haven for Second Amendment rights.

Dayton Daily News reporters dug deeper into the issue by asking questions about the origins of the movement. Consider joining efforts to produce quality local journalism like these recent investigations with a Dayton Daily News subscription.

Your questions answered about the ordinance:

How did it start?

Joshua Beckmann, a 19-year-old Lebanon student studying political science at the University of Cincinnati, kicked off the chain of events this spring when he spoke at a meeting of the Warren County commissioners and urged them to designate Warren County as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”

What happened next?

Learning of a move by some Texas communities to designate themselves as sanctuary counties for the unborn. He said he reached out to Lebanon City Councilman Doug Shope to explore whether such an ordinance could be passed in Lebanon. Shope said he crafted an ordinance with the help of multiple organizations and brought it to council’s May 4 work session.

Shope said he also reached out to fellow Councilman Adam Matthews. Matthews is a patent and intellectual property attorney as well as chairman of Elizabeth’s New Life Center, a network of anti-abortion women’s centers throughout Southwest Ohio.

What happens now?

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union - Ohio has have said they are prepared to sue Lebanon over the ordinance.

Shope said he was not concerned about a possible boycott of Lebanon’s businesses as possible fallout because of the ordinance. He believes it is likely that more people will visit Lebanon more because of its “honorable stance.”

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