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Athens City Council meets on the Tuesday after Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2022.

City Council: Committees discuss a resolution to protect reproductive rights

Athens City Council met in committees Nov. 14 to discuss a resolution that would make Athens a sanctuary city for reproductive rights. 

According to a previous Post article, if Athens were to become a sanctuary city, the city would protect all aspects of abortion from being prosecuted, including aiding someone in receiving an abortion, sheltering someone seeking an abortion or legally obtaining a self-managed abortion.

Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said the resolution would affirm Council's commitment to protecting city residents' right to make reproductive health decisions for themselves. It would also encourage the mayor not to use city funds to prosecute any report of abortion, miscarriage or other reproductive healthcare act. 

Grace said a resolution would be best to urge the administration to deprioritize those types of investigations because Council is limited in its scope of authority. She said that due to the changing laws in Ohio, abortion crimes would likely be coded as felonies by the county prosecutor. 

"We do not have the power or authority to dictate what the county prosecutor does … We don't have any authority to dictate to that person, that elected individual, what their job is," Grace said. 

Saraquoia Bryant, a member of the Ohio Community Rights Network, said she hopes Council will consider passing an ordinance in the future. 

"Here we are in a situation where we don't have (an abortion ban) on the books yet to be preempted," Bryant said. "We should set ourselves up as a city to not have an abortion ban within our city. And I think it's within our legislative responsibility as citizens to do so."


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