The city council of Abilene, Texas plans to make a final decision this week about adopting a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance.
The pro-life measure would protect unborn babies by outlawing abortions within city limits.
Earlier this year, pro-life advocates in Abilene launched a petition drive to force a vote on the proposed ordinance. If the city council rejects the ordinance, voters will have the opportunity to pass it on the ballot in November.
Chuck Fariana, pastor of New Hope Church, is one of the leaders of the effort.
“I would love Abilene be an abortion-free city. That there would be an ordinance in place that would say no more, not on our watch,” Fariana told KTXS 12.
He said his church donated $10,000 toward the petition drive because people were so “passionate” about protecting unborn babies’ lives and “making that a reality” in Abilene, according to the report.
However, a local Democrat leader criticized the plan to protect unborn babies. Taylor County Democratic Party leader Elizabeth Smyser told KTXS 12 that the proposed ordinance is not compassionate.
“Ordinances that deal in absolutes like this lack any real compassion for the complicated lives and situations that families undergo,” Smyser said. “Why or who should make the decision that your wife, or your daughter or your sister, her life is so in danger that now it’s okay.”
The Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance allows exceptions for abortion only if the mother’s life is at risk.
The 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.
“Abortion is an act of violence that purposely and knowingly terminates an unborn human life,” the proposed ordinance states. Babies in the womb are “entitled to the full and equal protection of the laws that prohibit violence against other human beings.”
Though abortion activists have threatened legal action, cities have been successful in court thus far.
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.
In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped another lawsuit challenging several Texas cities’ pro-life ordinances.
A growing grassroots movement is working to protect unborn babies at the city and county level. Other cities and counties have been passing pro-life 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 passed pro-life resolutions recently, too.