DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton City Commission unanimously passed an informal resolution Wednesday night that says they have no intention of prioritizing the state’s enforcement that criminalizes abortion. The commission said proposed legislation from the state violates women’s rights and is untenable in many cases.
The commission put forward an informal resolution at its meeting that “establishes the intention not to prioritize the enforcement of state laws that criminalize abortion,” according to a release.
City Commissioner Chris Shaw said their reasons are simple; they are already under significant resource constraints due to budgetary concerns, staffing shortages and the pandemic, and do not have further resources.
Although there’s no legislative power behind it, Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. said this was the first step of many to protect Dayton residents. However, some residents spoke at Wednesday night’s meeting that disagreed.
“Ultimately I’d like to hear unapologetically state that you are pro-abortion but I will settle hearing you’re pro-choice,” said resident Melissa Bertolo.
Some Dayton residents demanded more at the Dayton City Commission meeting, saying the informal resolution promising to not prioritize resources towards criminalizing abortion wasn’t enough.
“It’s not just about having a choice, it’s access to that choice,” said Bertolo. “From what I understand from your resolution, it’s not enough. It’s about prioritizing and not decriminalizing.”
Mayor Mims said the informal resolution is the first step of many for residents, but right now, he wanted to send a message to all Ohioans.
“It’s important to let our citizens know we care very deeply about what’s concerning them,”said Mayor Mims. “If anyone besides the doctor, husband and woman is involved, that’s wrong.”
Dayton Public Schools Board Vice President Jocelyn Spencer Rhynard said she fully supports the city commissioners and as a mother, she’s looking forward to what’s next.
You can watch the full meeting in the player above, the informal resolution can be read at the bottom.
“I profoundly, unequivocally support the right for women to choose their own healthcare decisions, so thank you for passing that and I look forward to hearing what you do in the future,” said Rhynard.
As of Friday, Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill went into law making abortions illegal after the baby’s heart beat is detectable, usually around six weeks. Senate Bill 123 and House Bill 598 are waiting approval before the Ohio General Assembly, anyone who causes or induces an abortion could be found guilty of a fourth degree felony if approved.
Mayor Mims said the city is in the process of looking at what they can do, if they can afford to pay for residents to seek abortions outside the state of Ohio or even further measures.