- NBC 6
- The all-male, five-member city council in Waskom, Texas unanimously passed an ordinance this week to restrict abortion in its jurisdiction, declaring the town the state’s first “sanctuary city of the unborn.”
- States across the country have recently brought forth extreme anti-abortion measures as part of a larger strategy to reverse the 1973 decision.
- While While Waskom’s mayor Jesse Moore told members before the vote that the town could be sued, paving the way for a lengthy lawsuit that they couldn’t afford to lose, residents told local station KTAL that they aren’t concerned because “God will take care of them.”
- A similar resolution was passed in March in Roswell, New Mexico.
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The all-male, five-member city council of a small town in Texas unanimously passed an ordinance this week to restrict abortion in its jurisdiction, a direct violation to the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortions and granted women a constitutional right to the procedure.
The 2,200-person town of Waskom, located on the Louisiana border and known as “The Gateway to Texas,” declared itself the state’s first “sanctuary city of the unborn,” following the ordinance’s passage on Tuesday. The measure, which includes exceptions for rape, incest, and cases where the mother’s life is at risk, passed despite Waskom not having any abortion clinics within its city limits.
Community and church members packed the Waskom city council in the lead up to the vote, with the room erupting in cheers following the ordinance’s passage. While Waskom’s mayor Jesse Moore told members before the vote that the town could be sued – paving the way for a lengthy lawsuit that they couldn’t afford to lose – it was passed without pushback. Their goal is for the ordinance to eventually reach the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn Roe, according to local station KTAL.
“We don’t have the possible millions of dollars that it would take to take it to that level,” acknowledged Waskom alderman Jimmy Dale Moore who voted for the measure. Residents told KTAL they aren’t concerned about the costs of a possible legal battle because “God will take care of them.”
The Waskom City Council just unanimously approved a resolution to become a “sanctuary city for the unborn.” Outside pro-life groups say the town is the first in the state of Texas to do so. @KSLA pic.twitter.com/1YqOZqb9ZI
— Blane Skiles (@BlaneSkiles) June 11, 2019
States across the country have recently brought forth extreme anti-abortion measures as part of a larger strategy to reverse the 1973 decision. In Texas, abortion is already banned after 20 weeks and women who obtain the procedure are required to go through hurdles such as state-directed counseling, mandatory wait periods, and an ultrasound. A bill passed last month by the Texas Senate, that has yet to be signed by Republican governor Greg Abbott, would criminalize doctors who fail to treat babies born alive after failed abortion attempts, even though that rarely occurs.
Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and a pastor at the Sovereign Love Church, a Baptist church in Longview, Texas, took to Facebook to applaud the city’s anti-abortion efforts.
Dickson directly quoted the ordinance, which states “the Supreme Court erred [in] Roe v. Wade when it said that pregnant women have a constitutional right to abort their pre-born children,” and argues that the decision “is a lawless and illegitimate act of judicial usurpation.”
He added that all organizations that provide abortions or assist others in obtaining the procedure “are now declared to be criminal organizations in Waskom, Texas.” He specifically called out groups like NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Whole Woman’s Health, and Planned Parenthood, among others.
“Every Texan, regardless of income or geographical location deserves access to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion. The Waskom ordinance is a dangerous attempt to undermine Roe v. Wade and disregards the fact that the majority of Texans believe abortion should remain legal,” NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Executive Director Aimee Arrambide said in a statement provided to INSIDER in response to the ordinance. “We will not be intimidated. At a time when the fundamental freedoms under Roe are under attack, we recommit ourselves to expanding and protecting these rights for all Texans.”
Although Waskom doesn’t currently have any abortion clinics, Dickson told local station KETK that the ordinance was enacted as a preventative measure in response to the “heartbeat” bill signed into law by Lousiana’s democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, last month. That law, which has yet to go into effect, will ban abortions after 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy and with no exceptions for rape or incest. Dickson and other anti-abortion supporters in Waskom fear the ban could drive abortion facilities in Louisiana to cross into Texas.
A similar resolution was passed in March in Roswell, New Mexico, with the city council declaring its “support of the unborn,” and vowing to protect “fetal life.”
INSIDER has reached out to Waskom mayor Jesse Moore for comment.
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- There’s evidence that women who are denied abortions could suffer from chronic health problems