Illinois City Passes Measure Protecting Babies From Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 3, 2023   |   9:54AM   |   Danville, Illinois

The Illinois city of Danville took a bold stand for life Tuesday when the city council passed a pro-life ordinance despite threats from the ACLU and state Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

Danville is the first city in Illinois and the 67th in the nation to approve a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance. The vote was 8-7 with Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. casting the tie-breaking vote.

Local residents urged the city council to pass the ordinance after learning that an Indiana abortion facility plans to open in their community. Danville is located near the state border and could become a destination spot for aborting unborn babies if the Indiana abortion ban goes into effect.

Support from local residents was strong during recent city council meetings. “It is about preserving life, it is about preserving the sanctity of life,” one told the city council Tuesday, WAND News reports.

Illinois laws allow abortions for basically any reason up to birth, so the ordinance cannot directly ban abortions. However, it protects unborn babies by requiring city-wide compliance with a federal law known as the Comstock Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 1461–1462), which prohibits the mailing and receiving of abortion drugs and abortion paraphernalia.

In the ordinance, city council members said they want to “preserve the safety, health peace, good order, comfort convenience, morals and welfare of all inhabitants” of Danville.

ACTION ALERT: Thank Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr.for supporting this pro-life measure.

The abortion facility that wants to move to the city, Clinic for Women of Indianapolis, has a long history of health and safety violations. One inspection found it used a vaginal probe on multiple patients without properly sterilizing it, according to Check My Clinic.

Mark Lee Dickson, a director with Right to Life of East Texas and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, praised city leaders for doing the right thing, despite the threats of a lawsuit.

“During the meeting, we heard from doctors, pharmacists and attorneys that these federal laws were bad and should not be complied with,” Dickson told LifeNews. “We heard the lie that abortion-inducing drugs are needed for purposes other than abortion … We also heard the lie that the laws of the State of Illinois trumped the federal statutes because of the Dobbs decision. However, despite all of the misinformation and fear tactics, life won in Danville.”

Prior to the vote, abortion activists and pro-abortion leaders protested the pro-life ordinance, and Chaundre White, senior supervising attorney at ACLU of Illinois, told city leaders to expect a lawsuit from her organization, according to the local news.

“To be clear this ordinance will not result in limiting abortion care in Danville,” White said. “It will, as you have been warned, result in you and the taxpayers of Danville paying significant legal fees and costs when this ordinance is successfully challenged.”

Mayor Williams previously said Jonathan Mitchell, a former solicitor general of Texas, has offered to defend the ordinance at no cost to the city if Danville faces a lawsuit.

This week, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul also sent a letter urging city leaders to reject the pro-life ordinance, claiming it violates state law.

“Our state is a proud safe haven for access to reproductive health care that respects bodily autonomy and fundamental rights,” Raoul said. “I will continue to stand up for the rights of everyone in Illinois to access reproductive health care, and my office stands ready to take appropriate action to uphold Illinois law.”

Others who spoke against the ordinance Tuesday included Carrie Wiggins, president of the Illinois Pharmacy Association.

However, the city council also heard from leaders who support the life-saving ordinance, including civil rights leader Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In a letter shared with LifeNews, King encouraged Danville leaders to pass the measure, reminding them that “many stand with you in this effort.” King also noted that several federal judges have issued favorable opinions about the federal Comstock Act, giving the city hope that it may succeed against a potential lawsuit.

“Equal justice mandates protection for humanity; one blood, one human race, from the womb to the tomb and beyond,” King wrote.

Danville is part of a grassroots movement working to protect unborn babies at the local level. To-date, 67 cities in Texas, Ohio, Nebraska, Louisiana, Iowa and New Mexico and two counties have passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that protect unborn babies through abortion bans and similar restrictions. More cities, including in Nevada and Virginia, are considering ordinances this spring.

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, at least 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, too, and the New Mexico county commissioners of Otero approved a resolution in July condemning the pro-abortion laws in their state.

ACTION ALERT: Thank Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr.for supporting this pro-life measure.