DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) – After nearly three hours of hearing comments from the public Tuesday, Danville City Council members were split 7-7 on whether to approve an ordinance that would impose fines on anyone shipping or receiving abortion pills or supplies in the mail. The final vote came down to Mayor Rickey Williams Jr., who asked for a motion to table the issue, then voted “yes.”

The decision was met with mixed reactions from the crowd. When the meeting started, people filled the room to maximum capacity, spilling into the hallway upstairs. Meanwhile, protestors on both sides stood outside for more than five hours.

Among the speakers were ACLU of Illinois Senior Supervising Attorney Chaundre White, who warned against passing the ordinance, and Mark Lee Dickson, founder of the “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative” out of Texas.

OB/GYN Dr. Bethany Halloran described other uses for medications restricted by the ordinance, and said: “Put simply, it will unnecessarily endanger the lives of women and could very well lead to preventable death.”

The city’s Corporation Counsel James Simon called the ordinance “poorly written,” saying it would still interfere with the mailing of medications that could be used both for abortions and the treatment of other conditions. He also stated during the meeting he believes it is illegal under state law, namely the Reproductive Health Act and related provisions, and wouldn’t be protected by the federal Comstock Act if the city is sued.

Audience members who spoke in support of the ordinance cited religion, morals and feelings of guilt they say women can have after receiving an abortion as reasons they believe voting “yes” is the right thing to do.

Within minutes of the vote, the ACLU of Illinois issued the following statement:

Today the Danville City Council adopted an unlawful and unenforceable ordinance to limit access to abortion in the city. Illinois has explicitly protected the right to abortion in this state, free from governmental interference, and Danville’s vote today is in clear violation of that law. We are evaluating next steps to challenge this unlawful ordinance.

Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project Director Ameri Klafeta

Attorney General Kwame Raoul stated Monday his office “stands ready to take appropriate action.”