LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) – Within hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the state of Ohio was able to put into effect the Heartbeat Law, which says that abortion is illegal in Ohio once a fetal heartbeat is detected in the womb.
But an ordinance introduced Tuesday in Lakewood says that, as a city, they won’t devote any city resources to enforce it.
“We do not want our tax dollars and our resources wasted in delving into the most personal decision in our residents’ lives,” said Lakewood Ward Two Councilman Jason Shachner.
Shachner is one of the chief sponsors of the ordinance, which he says is a response to the many calls he and other council members have received to take some sort of action.
He says the ordinance would make abortion investigations a low priority for police and the city would not use city resources to investigate or help investigate alleged violations of the Heartbeat Law.
Shachner says local communities do have to the right to determine what is a priority in their community.
“This is being referred to the finance committee over how our city’s limited resources our tax dollars, our assets are going to be allocated and we’re just saying that they’re not going to be used to investigate.” Shachner said.
Not everyone favors this.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, several people spoke out against the ordinance.
“You handcuff the police department with this. You tell them that they cannot do their duly sworn duty of apprehending criminals when the state law says that would be a crime,” NorthCoast Baptist Church Pastor John Lutz told council.
“I never heard such scare tactics that women were going to be put in jail if they don’t have the right medical care. Since when is killing a baby medical care?” Keith Robolata said.
But Shachner says the ordinance is about protecting the rights of women and the rights of individual communities to allocate its limited resources the way the community sees fit.
“We’re responding to an overreach by the state,” Shachner said. “Our residents need a voice and their best voice is their local elected officials and we’re as local as you can get, and we’re going to do what we can to protect our residents.”
Shachner says the majority of council is favors the ordinance, but it still has to go through two more readings and more public comment before it can come to a final vote.