The Tennessee border city of Bristol, Virginia is trying to stop abortion facilities from opening there.
Virginia border towns became a target of abortion businesses after Tennessee banned abortions this summer. One abortion facility already opened in Bristol in July, but local residents are fighting back to stop their city from becoming a destination spot to abort unborn babies.
On Tuesday, the Bristol City Council voted unanimously to advance a pro-life zoning ordinance that would ban new abortion facilities from opening and restrict the one that is already there from expanding, the Tennessee Lookout reports.
More than 80 local residents participated in a rally outside prior to the meeting, holding signs that support Bristol becoming a “safe zone for life.” The Family Foundation of Virginia, which organized the rally, pointed to the need for the ordinance after the Tennessee abortion facility moved to Bristol in July.
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“It’s motto is ‘A good place to live,’” Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb said, News Channel 11 reports. “That is the motto of the city, and folks want to make that the case for everyone, born and unborn, and so it’s simply saying that’s our intention, can we have the zoning commission move forward with making that a practical reality.”
The ordinance would prohibit any “land, building, structure or other premises” within city limits from being used to “intentionally cause the death or termination of a pre-born human life at any stage of development.” Additionally, it would prohibit any existing abortion facility from expanding.
Here’s more from the Lookout:
Bristol Councilmember Kevin Wingard called the zoning measure “the most important issue” ever to come before city leaders. He contends the city has the legal authority to stop abortion clinics from coming to town.
“The state does not dictate what every local district does,” Wingard said. “City Council has full authority to stop other abortion clinics from coming here.”
According to the report, city councils in Tazewell and Russell, Virginia, also recently approved resolutions declaring their cities a “sanctuary for the rights of the unborn.”
The proposed ordinance is part of a growing grassroots effort to enact protections for unborn babies at the local level. Pro-lifers in New Mexico, Nebraska and other states where abortion remains legal are trying to pass similar measures in their cities this fall.
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.
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.
ACTION ALERT: Contact the Bristol City Council to thank them for passing the ordinance.