Seven Texas cities were slammed with a lawsuit this week for trying to protect unborn babies from abortion.
The Austin Chronicle reports the American Civil Liberties Union, Lilith Fund and Texas Equal Access Fund filed the challenge against the cities’ new Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances.
Their lawsuit claims the ordinances in Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary and Wells violate abortion activists’ rights to free expression and association, according to the report. They also claim the ordinance could mislead women into thinking they that they cannot get an abortion.
The pro-life ordinances recognize that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. They prohibit abortions within city limits and prevent abortion businesses from opening there. The ordinances also penalize abortionists for aborting unborn babies, but they do not penalize women who seek or have abortions.
Texas Right to Life said the lawsuit is “baseless,” and the ordinance is well within the constitutional rights of local governments.
“We are confident the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances will hold up in court. These communities have shown great courage in standing up against the abortion industry,” the pro-life organization said in a statement. “Unsurprisingly, organizations that profit off the death of preborn children are throwing a hodgepodge of complaints at the court and seeing what they can get to stick.”
Currently, 11 Texas cities have active pro-life ordinances; those not targeted by the lawsuit are: Colorado City, Westbrook, Gilmer and Big Spring.
Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, told LifeNews that the ordinance was written carefully to take into account the possibility of a lawsuit.
He said the ordinances have “a public enforcement mechanism and a private enforcement mechanism. The public enforcement mechanism is about future enforcement.”
He said the public enforcement part of the ordinance fines abortionists $2,000 per abortion, but the penalty only would be enforced when Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“In other words, if you break the law today, you could be penalized for that crime years from now,” Dickson said. “The private enforcement mechanism does not have to wait upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and is in effect immediately. This part of the ordinance is about private lawsuits. When a child is killed by abortion, the family of that child … can sue the abortionist, the one who paid for the abortion, the one who drove the mother to the abortion, etc.”
Texas Right to Life also expressed confidence that the ordinance will be upheld in court.
“The ordinance language is solid and carefully drafted in expectation of the abortion industry filing a lawsuit,” the organization said. “This lawsuit is baseless, selectively targeting smaller cities that have passed the ordinance, and filed by abortion advocacy organizations that cover for the real culprit: abortion businesses, which are evidently unwilling to join the lawsuit themselves.”
A growing number of towns and cities have passed ordinances and resolutions to protect the unborn. An ordinance is a municipal government law or regulation. A resolution is a statement of support or opposition, but it is not legally enforceable.
In 2019, Roswell, New Mexico city leaders passed a pro-life resolution after state lawmakers considered a radical pro-abortion bill to expand late-term abortions. The bill narrowly failed to pass.
Also in 2019, the Riverton City Council in Utah passed a similar resolution, declaring the city a “sanctuary for the unborn.” The Utah County Commission unanimously voted in favor of a resolution supporting protections for unborn babies. The council in Highland, Utah and the city of Springdale, Arkansas also approved pro-life resolutions last summer.