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Effingham County Board pushes to become sanctuary for the unborn

Effingham County Board pushes to become sanctuary for the unborn

Come Monday, the Effingham County Board will vote on whether to make the county a sanctuary for the unborn. Now some are questioning how this resolution could be legally enforced.

Effingham county is home to more than a dozen churches and many residents with pro-live values.

"This is a very religious community, there's a lot of catholic presence in this community,” Effingham county resident John Gardner said. “Most of the Christians would agree that life begins at conception."

Next week, the Effingham county board will vote on whether to make this viewpoint the official stance of the county board.

"I put a resolution together that states that the county board will consider life begins at conception, until it's proven scientifically, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it begins at some other time,” Effingham County Board Chairman James Niemann said.

Even if the resolution passes, it would not have any legal bearing on abortions performed in the county.

"It doesn't really make any difference to the practices or what is legal or not legal in the county,” said Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “Rather than addressing real health issues of women in Effingham County and the issues of lack of access to healthcare, they have instead decided to spend time making a political statement.”

Even so, the board chairman says he hopes this will serve as a symbolic resolution.

"I hope it spurs a conversation," Niemann said. "Maybe somewhere down the line it may lead to a change in our society, or it may just be something that that remains here at Effingham county."

Even though this resolution would not impact whether abortions could be performed, some community members say they are still in favor of having it passed.

"I like the idea that it puts Effingham county on the map as being a county that stands for the sanctity of life,” Gardner said.

Illinois current abortion law doesn't set a timeframe for how late an abortion can be performed. That decision lies with the individual healthcare provider.

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