DAYTON, Ohio — The Dayton City Commission unanimously passed an informal resolution Wednesday that states the city won't prioritize the enforcement of abortion laws.
"The City Commission recognizes that the state laws passed to criminalize women's reproductive rights are part of Republican strategy to legislate away abortion by fiat, without doing the essential work of democracy and will therefore be effective at nothing but alienating and threatening huge segments of society, particularly low-income women of color," the resolution states.
Ohio currently bans abortions after six-weeks of pregnancy. It's a recent change made Friday after Attorney General Dave Yost filed a motion to dissolve the injunction on Senate Bill 23, otherwise known as the state's "Heartbeat Bill" on the same day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.
Prior to SB 23 going into effect, the state banned abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy under Casey v. Planned Parenthood. The exception to SB 23 is if the mother's life is in danger, and there are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. It also bans the procedure for genetic anomalies.
Dayton commissioners stated in the resolution that they believe "the state of Ohio instead needs to take a fundamentally different approach, one that protects women and families, and specifically grants women the voice, dignity and respect they deserve."
The commission called the informal resolution a good "first step," saying it will continue working with the prosecutor's office and other city entities to figure out the next steps.
The city attorney's offices for both Columbus and Cleveland have already voiced that they will not prosecute under the state's current abortion ban.
On Wednesday, Ohio abortion clinics filed a lawsuit against the six-week abortion ban in the Ohio Supreme Court, calling it "unconstitutional." The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Preterm-Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, Toledo Women’s Center, and Dr. Sharon Liner, an individual abortion provider.
“This sweeping measure, which prevents nearly every pregnant person from accessing essential care, is blatantly unconstitutional under Ohio’s state constitution which has broad protections for individual liberties," said attorney Freda Levenson, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.
However, Yost responded to the lawsuit and said, "Aside from filing the wrong action in the wrong court, they are wrong as well on Ohio law. Abortion is not in the Ohio Constitution."
Four Republicans and three Democrats make up the Ohio Supreme Court. The next steps will be for the court to hear arguments from both sides of the issue, and determine whether the six-week ban in unconstitutional.