Eighteen cities in Texas now protect unborn babies by banning abortions through Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances.
On Monday, the city council in Grapeland, Texas voted 4-0 in favor of the pro-life ordinance, with one member abstaining.
“We as a community wanted to be a voice for the voiceless,” Mayor Mitchell Woody said. “It is considered murder to kill someone who has a heartbeat, DNA, fingerprints and the ability to dream. A human fetus has all these things, too. So, why is abortion not considered murder? We have taken a stance today to say abortion is murder, and our city will not allow it within our city limits.”
Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and leader of the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, said no one who spoke at the meeting opposed the pro-life ordinance.
He said Grapeland (population 1,489) is the 18th city in the United States to pass an enforceable ordinance outlawing abortion within its city limits.
The ordinance recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. It prohibits abortions within city limits and prevents abortion businesses from opening there. The ordinance also penalizes abortionists for aborting unborn babies, but it does not penalize women who seek or have abortions.
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The other Texas cities that have passed Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances are New Home, East Mountain, Whiteface, Wells, Big Spring, Rusk, Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Gilmer and Westbrook. Omaha also passed an ordinance but later retracted it and passed a non-enforceable resolution instead.
Residents of Lubbock also are trying to pass a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance after Planned Parenthood opened a new abortion facility there late last year. In November, the Lubbock City Council rejected the ordinance, but because of a citizen-led petition, residents will have the opportunity to approve the ordinance on the May 2021 election ballot.
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.”
Each ordinance includes a public enforcement mechanism and a private enforcement mechanism. The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who helps with an abortion within city limits. However, it cannot be enforced until Roe v. Wade is overturned.
However, the private enforcement mechanism is immediate. It makes abortionists and those who help them “liable in tort to a surviving relative of the aborted unborn child, including the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings or half-siblings,” meaning the abortionist can be sued for aborting the unborn child.
Abortion activists have tried to stop the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, but, in May, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging seven of the cities’ ordinances.