EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (WCCU) — Cities across the country have become a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants and for gun owners and now Effingham County is becoming a sanctuary for the life of unborn human beings.
The county board voted 7 to 1 Monday approving the controversial resolution that opposes abortions. The vote comes after the county declared itself a sanctuary for gun owners in April.
“Mind your own business and do the business that you were elected to do for this county,” one resident said during the board’s meeting disapproving the resolution.
Hundreds attended the meeting voicing their concern, opinion and support.
"Indeed it would seem that the wound is the most dangerous place in Illinois,” Effingham County’s Right to Life member, Valarie Kemme said.
The resolution reflects the belief that life starts at conception.
"Regret is something most -- almost all mothers feel after they have had an abortion,” Effingham County’s Right to Life member, Jami Johnson said.
The only woman on the board, Karen Luchtefeld voted against the resolution.
"If your religion is more important than our United States constitution, then you should work in a church, a mosque or a synagogue and keep out the public office,” Luchtefeld said.
The resolution condemns voluntary abortion practices except if the life of the mother or child is at risk.
“Medical treatments and interventions may and should be done for mothers and or their unborn child in cases of medical emergencies,” Kemme said.
Board chairman, James Niemann said the resolution is not an ordinance.
"Ordinances affect the public at large, resolutions effect the operations of the board of the county in general,” Niemann said. “So this is something that would affect the way the county looks at the questions that would come forward in the future.”
The county does not have any abortion facilities and used to have a planned parenthood.
"If you want to stop unwanted pregnancies we as a county through our health board should give free birth control to the couples who cannot afford it,” resident against the resolution, Shirley Mcevers said.
The resolution takes effect immediately, but it leaves community members divided.
"I think it's very concerning that they are adopting these resolutions that have nothing to do -- it's outside of their job description,” resident against the resolution, Vickie Dasenbrock said.
“I feel like Effingham County has been a leader in protecting the unborn and I’m really proud about that,” Effingham County’s Right to Life member, Sue Thoele said.
Besides the county's catholic St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital, the county also has a Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and Carle hospital. The board members said the resolution does not prohibit those health facilities from performing abortions.