The City of Shallowater, Texas became the 45th in the nation Tuesday to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance that protects unborn babies by outlawing abortions.
Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, said the city council voted 5-0 to pass the pro-life ordinance, following 44 other cities in Texas, Ohio and Nebraska.
Earlier this month, state Rep. Dustin Burrows and Sen. Charles Perry, both of whom represent the Shallowater area, joined local residents in encouraging city leaders to pass the ordinance.
“The battlefield to protect the unborn has shifted from the state to the local arena in recent years,” Burrows and Perry wrote in a letter to Mayor RoyKing Potter, shared with LifeNews.com. “For that reason, passing an ordinance designating Shallowater as a Sanctuary City for the Unborn will help to continue the Texas belief that life begins at conception, while also protecting the safety of mothers.”
They highlighted the success of the ordinance in the nearby city of Lubbock, which resulted in Planned Parenthood stopping abortions there. Today, they said “thousands of babies are approaching their first steps” as a result of the Lubbock ordinance and the state heartbeat law.
To date, 45 cities in Texas, Nebraska and Ohio have passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that outlaw abortions within city limits. However, two cities did repeal their ordinances: Mason, Ohio and Omaha, Texas.
Follow LifeNews on the MeWe social media network for the latest pro-life news free from Facebook’s censorship!
Each city ordinance differs slightly, but generally, 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 city limits.
In most cities, 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 an unborn child in violation of the ordinance. The state heartbeat law has a similar enforcement provision.
These ordinances represent a growing local movement to protect unborn babies at the city and county level – one that is alarming the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have sued to block several Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances, but, thus far, their attempts have failed.
In 2021, voters in Lubbock, Texas overwhelmingly approved a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance on the ballot, and Planned Parenthood was forced to stop aborting unborn babies there. The abortion chain challenged the ordinance, but a judge threw out its lawsuit later that year. Then, in January, Planned Parenthood decided to drop its lawsuit completely in a major victory for life.
Though abortion activists have threatened legal action, other cities also have been successful in court thus far. In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging several Texas cities’ pro-life ordinances.
Some cities and counties also are passing resolutions, which are statements of support but not enforceable law, that recognize unborn babies’ right to life. In Arkansas, 19 counties and 10 cities and towns have passed pro-life resolutions, according to Family Council of Arkansas. Several North Carolina counties have passed pro-life resolutions recently, too.