Texas Cities Can Ban Abortion Clinics After ACLU Drops Lawsuit

State   Micaiah Bilger   May 27, 2020   |   10:14AM    Austin, TX

Pro-life leaders in Texas celebrated Tuesday after the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit against seven cities that declared themselves sanctuaries for unborn babies.

CBS DFW 21 News reports the ACLU of Texas announced its decision to end the lawsuit after the cities amended their “sanctuary for the unborn” ordinances. It sued on behalf of the Texas Equal Access Fund and the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity in federal court.

While the ACLU claimed “victory,” pro-life leaders said the real victory goes to Texas cities, unborn babies and mothers.

“This is a total and complete victory for the cities that have enacted these ordinances,” said Mark Lee Dickson of Right to Life of East Texas.

Dickson has been leading the sanctuary for the unborn effort across the state. So far, 13 cities have passed the pro-life ordinance, and, with the lawsuit over, pro-life advocates hope more will follow.

“This lawsuit was nothing but a publicity stunt to deter other cities from creating sanctuaries for the unborn,” Dickson said. “But it will end up having the opposite effect. Now even the ACLU acknowledges that there is no grounds for challenging these ordinances, and this will embolden other cities and towns to join the movement.”

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.

The Texan reports the ACLU challenged part of the ordinance that describes pro-abortion groups that help women get abortions as “criminal organizations.”

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After the ACLU filed the lawsuit in February, the cities responded by amending their ordinances. Dickson told LifeNews.com that, despite what the ACLU claims, the amendment did not weaken the ordinances.

He explained: “While it is true that the amended ordinance removes calling the ACLU’s clients and others ‘criminal organizations,’ the act of abortion and the act of aiding and abetting an abortion are still considered criminal acts in every city which the ACLU has sued. If the Lilith Fund or the TEA Fund or any other organization pays for an abortion within the city limits of Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary or Wells, Texas, their organization is involved in criminal activity and there will be consequences.”

Texas Right to Life also celebrated the victory Tuesday, calling the lawsuit a “scattershot” attempt to intimidate cities into abandoning their efforts to save unborn babies’ lives.

“The desperate lawsuit was filed in February, but now, even the ACLU realized their complaint would not hold up in court,” the pro-life organization said. “Ironically, their failed attempt to intimidate city councils will embolden more towns to become Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn with more confidence than ever.”

The pro-life ordinances are particularly important because Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the nation, confirmed that it is looking to expand in West Texas, Texas Right to Life told LifeNews.com earlier this year.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas received an anonymous donation of $9 million in 2019 for the purpose of building two West Texas abortion facilities. Also, Planned Parenthood recently ran a billboard campaign in Abilene, San Angelo, and other neighboring cities.

The ordinance states: “the Supreme Court erred in Roe v. Wade, when it said that pregnant women have a constitutional right to abort their unborn children, as there is no language anywhere in the Constitution that even remotely suggests that abortion is a constitutional right . . . constitutional scholars have excoriated Roe v. Wade for its lack of reasoning and its decision to concoct a constitutional right to abortion that has no textual foundation in the Constitution or any source of law.”

Previously, Dickson told LifeNews that the ordinance was written to withstand legal challenges. He said the ordinance has a public and a private enforcement mechanism.

He said the public enforcement part fines abortionists $2,000 per abortion, but the penalty only would be enforced when Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“The private enforcement mechanism does not have to wait upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and is in effect immediately,” he said. “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.”