Residents of San Angelo, Texas will have the opportunity to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance and ban abortions through a city ballot measure in November.
On Tuesday, the San Angelo City Council rejected the pro-life ordinance in a unanimous vote after local residents collected enough petition signatures to force city leaders to take action, The Texan reports.
Because the council rejected it, the city charter allows the proposed ordinance to be put to voters instead. It will appear on the ballot in November, according to the report.
If the ordinance passes, San Angelo would join more than 40 other cities across the U.S. in protecting unborn babies by banning abortions within city limits. With a population of 99,893, it also would be one of the largest cities to do so.
Here’s more from the report:
Directly following the decision, local pastor Ryan Buck, who has led the effort to pass the ordinance in San Angelo, handed the city clerk a letter requiring that the proposal be put up for election in November — an outcome that some citizens suspect was determined months ago by city leadership behind the scenes.
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According to the process laid out in the city charter, the proposal is no longer in the city council’s hands at this point. Once the councilors reject an ordinance set before them by a petition, then the petitioners can require a citywide vote.
San Angelo does not have any abortion facilities, but the ordinance would be a preventative measure against one opening. Planned Parenthood closed its facility in the city in 2013.
Pro-life residents of Abilene, Texas also are working to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance by ballot measure this year.
To date, 43 cities in Texas, Nebraska and Ohio have passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that outlaw abortions within city limits.
One in Lubbock, Texas passed by ballot initiative and led to Planned Parenthood stopping abortions there. The abortion chain challenged the ordinance, but a judge threw out its lawsuit last summer. Then, in January, Planned Parenthood decided to drop its lawsuit completely in a major victory for life.
The Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance makes it “unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy” in the city. It also prohibits “any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion” and treats abortion-inducing drugs as contraband within the city limits.
The ordinance has both public and private enforcement mechanisms. 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 in violation of the ordinance.
Though abortion activists have threatened legal action, the cities have been successful in court thus far. In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging several Texas cities’ pro-life ordinances.