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Anti-abortion law opponents win in Mason, lose in Lebanon

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 03, 2021

MASON, Ohio — Over the last year, Lebanon and Mason in Warren County passed anti-abortion laws within the respective cities. Lebanon passed its law unanimously in May, while Mason's law passed by one vote in October. Neither city has an abortion clinic.

Opponents and proponents of the laws fared differently depending on which city they were in. Opponents of the ban won in Mason, while supporters of the ban won in Lebanon, but each race was different.

Mark Haake, who won his election for a council seat in Mason, is against the legislation. He said the ban was politically motivated and wasn't going to stop any abortions from occurring.

"The Democrats, obviously, it’s a big issue for them," Haake told WCPO. "So I know it fired up the Democrat side. But I spoke to a lot of Republicans that felt the same way. This ordinance was not going to change anything for the city. It wasn’t going to stop abortions. The mayor (Kathy Grossman) even admitted that in a meeting. It became a political issue. (The) timing seems pretty clear, that it was meant to inflame one side that they felt was going to be stronger and get them more votes.”

Haake, along with Barbara Spaeth – who also opposed the ban – won seats on council. Mike Gilb and TJ Honerlaw, who voted yes for the ban, were voted out. Honerlaw, who sponsored it, finished last.

"That is not an issue that Mason City Council should have ever been dealing with," Spaeth, a former Mason mayor, said. "The ordinance was not even enforceable, so why should we even be considering that?"

In Lebanon, the candidates who supported the ban won their races – Michael Cope (who received the most amount of votes of any candidate), Scott Norris, Brad Lamoreaux and Matt Sellers. Alecia Lipton, who was a vocal opponent of the ban, finished fifth, while Leslie Nahigyan, another vocal opponent, finished seventh. Nine candidates ran, with the top four winning council seats.

In Mason, Spaeth and Haake each said there were other major issues on council that contributed to Tuesday's results. Besides the abortion law, there was also a major land development plan that was unpopular.

"I saw a lot of citizens that were insulted at council meetings," Spaeth said. "Small businesses were treated terribly during the COVID situation. We had two very big issues recently on the agenda that caused our community to come speak and they weren't listened to."

You can find the results of all of the local 2021 races here on our election results page.