The Sanctuary City for the Unborn movement reached a major milestone Thursday when a Texas city voted to become the 50th to adopt a pro-life ordinance 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 of Normangee (population 778) approved the ordinance in a unanimous vote.
“The vote by the City Council was unanimous! Way to go Normangee, Texas!” Dickson wrote on Facebook after the vote.
Normangee is the 50th city in the United States and the 44th in Texas to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, which bans the killing of unborn babies in abortions within city limits.
There is no abortion facility in Normangee, but the ordinance will prevent one from opening there. It also will combat the rise of mail-order abortion drugs, which the Biden administration began allowing late last year.
Each ordinance differs slightly in every city, 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” within city limits. It also prohibits “any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion” and treats abortion-inducing drugs as contraband.
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.
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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 Texas heartbeat law has a similar enforcement provision.
Though abortion activists have threatened legal action, the 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 local level. In the past several years, other cities and counties have passed 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.