The City Council, climaxing months of emotional debate, is to vote today on a proposed ordinance that would place sharp restrictions on abortions here.
The measure is widely viewed here as a model that anti-abortion forces will press other cities to adopt. It is expected to pass by a 7-to-6 vote.
Its leading opponents, the Pro Choice Coalition, contend that the local effort to win approval is part of a "national strategy supported and heavily financed by the Catholic Church . . . to prevent access to safe, legal abortion."
The major force behind the ordinance is Citizens for Informed Consent (CIC), many of whose members are also active in Akron's right to life movement. Chairman Marvin Weinberger, an orthodox Jew, says CIC has a broad base of various religions.
The bill's two strongest endorsements have come from the Summitt County Roman Catholic bishop. Michael J. Murphy, who wrote letters to councilmen urging passage, and the Rev. Charles F. Billington of the Akron Baptist Temple, who charged fromt he pulpit that "we've killed five million" since the 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion.
The final draft of the bill has dropped a requirement that a married woman's husband must be notified 24 hours in advance of an abortion. But it still requires that parents of unmarried women under 18 be notified in advance. And parents of unmarried patients under 15 must give written consent, or a court order must be obtained, before an abortion.
An "informed consent" section requires providing a detailed description of fetal development to a woman seeking abortion. Pro Choice members call this intimidation.
Pro Choice is hopeful that Mayor John Ballard will veto the measure. Ballard, a Republican has not taken a position on the bill, but has indicated his belief that abortion should be a private matter between patient and physician.