Residents of Hershey, Nebraska will vote in November on an ordinance that declares their village a sanctuary for unborn babies and bans abortions.
On Monday, the Hershey Village Board voted 4-1 to pass a resolution to place the pro-life ordinance on the ballot, said Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right to Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative.
Village leaders considered the ordinance after citizens collected enough signatures on a petition to prompt a vote. Although the board members voted to place the proposal on the ballot, they also voted 5-0 against passing the ordinance themselves, Dickson said.
After the vote, Andrea Foster, a Hershey resident who led the petition effort, said she is grateful that voters will have the opportunity to pass the ordinance and protect unborn babies, KNOP News 2 reports.
“While I wish our community could have been more like the other communities whose leadership has voted to keep abortion out of their communities, I am thankful that the people will be able to vote on this matter at the ballot box this November,” Foster said.
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The pro-life ordinance recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. It would make it unlawful for anyone to abort an unborn baby or “knowingly aid or abet an abortion” in the village, with an exception for if the mother’s life is at risk. It also would prohibit the possession and distribution of abortion drugs. Abortion practitioners could be penalized for aborting unborn babies, but the ordinance does not punish women who seek or have abortions.
Pastor Kevin Hendricks, of Hershey Baptist Church, told the village board that babies in the womb are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected, according to the local news.
“A little over 15 years ago my wife miscarried at six weeks. We grieved deeply and I’m still sad that I never got to know that child,” Hendricks said. “But we didn’t grieve the loss of a fetus, we grieved the loss of our child. When a woman miscarries, it is a child that is lost. This fight is for the lives of children, not fetuses.”
Dickson emphasized the need for such ordinances even in small towns, noting how mail-order abortion drugs are legal now and the Biden administration wants “abortion access in every zip code.”
However, several board members questioned the ordinance, including how the village would enforce it and if abortion is a “partisan” issue that local governments should avoid, the report continues.
In response, Dickson said the pro-life measure would deter abortions, and the village could enforce it “the same way that any other ordinance in Hershey is being enforced.”
Three Nebraska cities already have Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances, and eight more, Arnold, Paxton, Wallace and Curtis, Nebraska, and Abilene, San Angelo, Plainview and Athens, Texas, will have proposed ordinances on their November ballots for voters to decide.
Citizens of Bellevue, Nebraska, which has an abortion facility run by late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart, also are trying to pass an ordinance to ban abortions there.
Dickson said pro-life advocates are working with cities in New Mexico to pass pro-life ordinances as well.
To-date, 51 cities in Nebraska, Texas and Ohio have adopted ordinances that outlaw the killing of unborn babies in abortions within city limits. One in Lubbock, Texas, which voters approved in 2021, forced a Planned Parenthood to stop aborting unborn babies in the city.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, states have been acting to protect unborn babies again. However, abortions are still legal in Nebraska.
Earlier this month, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said he wants his state to ban abortions and “affirm the rights of preborn babies and to support pregnant women, children, and families in need.” However, he said the state legislature currently does not have enough votes to pass legislation to limit or ban abortions.