Thursday, October 03, 2019

More Texas small towns declare themselves anti-abortion 'sanctuary cities' at suggestion of conservative activists

Only a few months after a small Texas town outlawed abortion and declared itself the nation's first "sanctuary city for the unborn," five more towns in the state have passed similar laws, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux reports for The Washington Post.

In June, the five-member city council of Waskom, Texas, pop. 2,189, unanimously voted for an ordinance and resolution criminalizing abortion. There was no abortion clinic in the town (or any of the other towns that passed such laws), but the Waskom townspeople wanted to keep it that way, and were concerned that one might set up shop to cater to women from nearby Louisiana.

The bans were proposed, in Waskom and other towns, by anti-abortion activist group Right to Life of East Texas. "Five towns have adopted the restrictive ordinance, which outlaws emergency contraception such as Plan B, criminalizes reproductive rights groups and fines doctors $2,000 for performing the procedure. A sixth East Texas town has adopted a more lenient version of the ordinance," Wax-Thibodeaux reports. None of the towns have more than 3,000 residents.

Right to Life of East Texas leader Mark Lee Dickson said he and fellow antiabortion group Texas Right to Life plan to pitch the law to more than 400 Texas towns. Dickson and others like him are disappointed by the lack of anti-abortion laws on the state level, so they're trying the local approach. "Dickson also hopes to attract a legal challenge that forces the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade," Wax-Thibodeaux reports. That's because "the ordinance is only criminally enforceable if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. But, in civil cases, Dickson said, local courts could enforce the ordinance in a lawsuit against someone who provides emergency contraception or performs an abortion in the town limits."

No comments: