DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) – City leaders are considering a measure that would restrict access to abortions, something that was met with passionate debate as people from both sides of the argument filled the City Council chamber Tuesday night for a Public Services Committee meeting.

“Well I think that this is not an issue of women’s health,” one speaker said during public comment.

“It is, to me, absolutely insane that especially males would walk up here and say you should never be allowed to have an abortion,” another member of the public said.

The ACLU addressed Danville’s proposal, saying if it passes – the city is subjecting itself to significant legal liability.

The big question remains: would the ordinance be legal? ACLU of Illinois Senior Supervising Attorney Chaundre White appeared at the meeting, reiterating the position the group took in a letter to the city. They say the ordinance is unenforceable under the state’s Reproductive Health Act, which guarantees access to abortion as a fundamental right in Illinois.

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. explained that anyone shipping or receiving abortion pills or abortion-related supplies would be subject to fines of $1,500 per offense. There was discussion over an abortion clinic that may open up in Danville soon. Williams acknowledged that while he doesn’t think the ordinance would stop the clinic from opening, he said it could provide a means by which they couldn’t perform abortions.

Alderman Tricia Teague noted internal counsel estimates that if litigation was brought against the city, it could cost up to $1 million to defend, or more if it goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“You won’t know until the finality – which could go beyond, potentially, the Supreme Court level,” Alderman Ethan Burt said.

“My response to that would be are we willing to donate a million dollars to find out? Is it worth a million dollars to find out?” Teague asked.

“It’s worth a million dollars to win,” Burt responded.

“And if we lose?” Teague asked.

Ultimately, the committee voted 3-1 to recommend the ordinance be considered by the full City Council – the first step toward an outcome many who described themselves as pro-life during public comment are hoping for. That same group of speakers called providing abortions a “grisly business” that doesn’t belong in their city, while the other side says it’s necessary health care – telling the government to stay out of the doctor’s office.

Also during the meeting, Williams mentioned receiving a letter from a lawyer who offered to represent the city if it is met with litigation over the proposed ordinance. WCIA reached out to attorney Anthony Mitchell, who said via email: “Yes, I have offered to represent the city at no charge to the city or its taxpayers in any litigation arising out of the ordinance.”

Reporters followed up asking whether that statement would remain true if the total cost reaches millions of dollars. Mitchell has not responded.