PORTSMOUTH – Members of the Portsmouth City Council voted 2-3 to reject a resolution that would condemn an Ohio General Assembly abortion ban and affirm the city’s commitment to protecting the rights of its residents to make reproductive healthcare decisions – including abortion care.

“This legislation aims at not cooperating with attempts to punish people for providing healthcare such as abortion and also moving to extend coverage for current city workers and future city workers,” said Mayor and 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne. “This legislation is about the healthcare of our residents, workers, and children. Multiple reports have come out to describe, in detail, the threat to a child’s body when they are put into a forced birth situation…and when you look at poll after poll conducted by political scientists, the majority of our population supports the availability of procedures like (abortion).”

“This is a pressing issue for young females. Decisions are being made over their body, oftentimes by people not facing the same circumstances they do. We should provide a legal context for our city to provide coverage for our employees and not face future fines from the Ohio General Assembly.”

Dunne pointed to other cities – such as Cincinnati – who have passed similar legislation.

“This passed with unanimous bipartisan support in Cincinnati,” remarked Dunne. “And you have businesses like Kroger, Wal-Mart, Disney, and Netflix passing their own private policies.”

In the end, three council members voted against the legislation including 2nd Ward Councilwoman Charlotte Gordon, 4th Ward Councilwoman Lyvette Mosley, and 3rd Ward Councilman Andy Cole.

“I have lots of people that want to talk about this,” said Cole. “Everyone has been saying: ‘City Council, stay you’re route. Don’t get involved in things that are going to drive people apart’.”

In other news, council progressed legislation that would implement a tax on Airbnb properties and other short term rentals within city limits. The legislation would subject short term rentals to the same hotel/motel tax as other local establishments. It goes for a third and final reading during the next council convening.

The next Portsmouth City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 12th at 6PM.

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