If you aren't paying attention to the attacks on the right to choose, you really should be. Ever since Amy Coney Barrett joined the Supreme Court, shifting it to a 6-3 conservative majority, anti-abortion politicians have taken aim at uteruses across the nation. According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, 2021 is on track to become the most "devastating" anti-abortion state legislative session in decades – and two Ohio cities are adding fuel to the fire.
These bans are reprehensible for many reasons, and they affect pro-choicer's and pro-lifer's alike – as it's not only dangerous and unconstitutional, but it also puts a strain on the economies of these cities.
Lebanon, a city just north of Cincinnati, was the first Ohio city to ban abortion – deeming themselves a "sanctuary city for the unborn." The legislation, passed in late May, makes it illegal to not only provide or aid an abortion but also punishes people who merely provide money, travel or advice. To make matters worse, there is no mention of an exemption for cases of rape or incest.
"The ordinance in Lebanon is just another example of the extreme and unconstitutional lengths anti-abortion activists will go to prevent patients from seeking the care they need and deserve," said Kersha Deibel, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, adding: "We will do everything we can to continue providing safe, legal abortion to the people in Ohio who need it – no matter what."
Mason, which is only 22 miles from downtown Cincinnati, is the other, though they have been much more apprehensive. Word of a proposal started floating around a few weeks ago, but it has not yet made its way to a city council agenda. There have been plenty of pro-choice protests that have kept the plan from seeing the light of day, but people who call the city home are most worried about its adverse effects on local businesses and the economy.
Mason is home to the Western & Southern Open, which hosts some of the biggest tennis stars in the world, but city council candidate and small business owner Joy Bennett told WCPO she worries they could lose it if a Lebanon-like ban came to their city.
"Honestly, the athletes, the sponsors, they very well could say, 'I'm not going there if this is the policy, if this is the law in the City of Mason. I won't compete there, I won't sponsor an event there,'" she said.
It's not just sports and celebrities, these bans affect the economy in general – look no further than Lebanon. After only a little over two months, businesses are already seeing decreased sales, which has their owners, who were already struggling with a pandemic, questioning if it was a good idea after all. Lebanon business owners reported sales in June of 2021 have suffered compared to 2020 and 2019, according to a survey by Main Street Lebanon, led by University of Cincinnati professor Michael Cook. This is just a natural side effect of instituting an abortion ban, as Cook told the Cincinnati Enquirer, "I haven't seen evidence of a formal boycott, but there are people boycotting."
Whether you are pro or anti-abortion, you cannot deny what taking it away does to a city. So, here's a message for the anti-abortion politicians out there: put aside your obsession with uteruses and do what's best for the people you represent.