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Seaford mayor says there's enough outside funding to cover abortion lawsuit fees

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

The city of Seaford is facing a lawsuit from the State Attorney General over its fetal remains ordinance; and the city’s mayor believes they have the funds needed for the fight.

The city put a stay on enacting its controversial ordinance requiring the burial or cremation of any fetal remains from a surgical abortion or miscarriage in the city

But Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings filed a lawsuit against the city anyway, claiming state law already overrules this ordinance.

One council member opposed to the ordinance is concerned about the cost of the legal fight. Seaford Mayor David Genshaw says the city should be covered with outside help.

“Certainly the pro-choice side collects money and has donors and sometimes that’s not seen as a bad thing when that happens,” says Genshaw. “And for some reason this is considered dark money and a really bad thing; but I just don’t see it that way. These are neighbors, these are local people giving money to something they believe in and support.”

Genshaw says the donations are being collected through a non-profit called Delaware Strong Families, founded by Nicole Theis, who also runs the Delaware Family Policy Council.

State lawmakers are preparing to pass a law rendering the ordinance moot. Genshaw hopes they at least consider the spirit of the ordinance.

“My only hope is that the, and this is just a hope; I don’t know that they’ll do this,” he says. “But I would love the leader to look at the ordinance and have a vote on the ordinance as a state.”

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst spoke with Delaware Public Media in December, calling the ordinance a way to discourage and shame women who are seeking an abortion.

Genshaw says the city has done all they can do to prove the legality of the ordinance, and to ensure their voices are heard.

Genshaw says despite the backlash, he believes it’s important to stand up for his values.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.