The city of Abernathy, Texas took a stand for life Monday when its city council passed an ordinance to protect unborn babies by banning abortions within city limits.
Abernathy (population 3,005) is the 27th city in the U.S. and the 25th in Texas to pass a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance, said Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative.
Dickson said city leaders voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance in front of a large crowd. He told LifeNews that many people are urging their cities to act because President Joe Biden’s administration is aggressively pushing to expand abortions.
“The Biden Administration has said that they want to see abortion access in every zip code,” Dickson said. “Cities must be prepared. Biden is seeking to fulfill that through the abortion pill, which he is working hard to deregulate. The future of the abortion industry is not brick and mortar but abortion by mail or abortion by vending machine at a school or outside of a grocery store.”
The Abernathy Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. It prohibits abortions within city limits and outlines legal consequences for abortionists who abort unborn babies. It does not penalize women who seek or have abortions, and it does not prohibit abortions when the mother’s life is at risk.
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“May 10th of 2021 is etched in my memory forever for two reasons,” Mayor Ron Johnson said after the vote. “It was my first meeting presiding as mayor, but most importantly Abernathy, Texas, became a Sanctuary City for the Unborn!”
A number of local residents testified in support of the measure, some noting its importance after the near-by city of Lubbock passed a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance earlier this month.
Abernathy is the first city to outlaw abortion since the citizens of Lubbock voted to outlaw abortion in a city-wide vote on May 1. Several residents expressed concern over the aftermath of the city of Lubbock outlawing abortion. One Abernathy resident asked the Mayor and City Council, “If Planned Parenthood obeys the law and does not perform abortions in Lubbock where are they going to go? We need to make sure abortions cannot ever be performed here in Abernathy.” Abernathy is 19 miles north of Lubbock.
The Texan reports Joaquin City Council member Mike Cummings also encouraged Abernathy to protect unborn babies from abortions as his city did in 2019. He said the American Civil Liberties Union sued Joaquin and six other cities over their Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances, but the cities won a victory when the ACLU dropped the lawsuit.
“You may hear that this ordinance is going to cost your city or taxpayers a whole lot of money. I am here to testify that it did not cost the city of Joaquin or our taxpayers one cent,” Cummings said. “My city outlawed abortion in September of 2019 and we have no regrets.”
The ordinance defines an abortion as “the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.”
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.
However, 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 the unborn child.
To date, 25 Texas cities and two in Nebraska have passed Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances. Dickson said other cities in Nebraska, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas also have expressed interest in passing pro-life ordinances.
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Author: Micaiah Bilger
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