Nebraska City Bans Abortions, Becomes “Sanctuary for the Unborn”

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 7, 2021   |   5:08PM   |   Hayes Center

The life-saving effort to ban abortions at the city-level is spreading across the country.

On Tuesday, the village of Hayes Center became the first in Nebraska to pass a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance and the 24th in the nation, The Hayes Center Times-Republican reports. The vote was 5-0 in favor of the pro-life ordinance.

Chairwoman Kimberle Primavera spearheaded the effort after reading about the city of Carbon, Texas passing a similar ordinance in February, according to the report.

The Sanctuary for the Unborn 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. It also penalizes abortion practitioners for aborting unborn babies, but it does not penalize women who seek or have abortions.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the village of Hayes Center, Nebraska,” the ordinance states. “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the village of Hayes Center, Nebraska.”

Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right to Life of East Texas and leader of the Sanctuary for the Unborn initiative, told LifeNews that the Hayes Center ordinance is a little different from the Texas ordinances.

“There is no private enforcement action in the Hayes Center Ordinance and, according to the ordinance, the fines are immediately able to be enforced regardless of the standing of Roe v. Wade,” Dickson said. “In addition to the outlawing of abortion, the abortion pill is also declared to be contraband in Hayes Center.”

Dickson said people in other states also have expressed interest in passing pro-life ordinances. He told the Times-Republican that President Joe Biden’s administration “wants abortion access in every zip code,” but many cities do not.

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“From Naples, Florida to Camden, Tennessee to Marshfield, Missouri to Texarkana, Arkansas — citizens everywhere are realizing that the time to stand up and do something is not later, but right now,” he said.

Other Texas cities that have passed pro-life ordinances include Murchison, GormanCarbonGrapelandNew HomeEast MountainWhitefaceWellsBig SpringRuskWaskom, 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 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 election ballot.

Abortion activists tried to stop the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, but, last year, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging seven of the cities’ ordinances.