A black, red, and white mailer is being sent to voters across western Nebraska, reading, “Vote NO on the Sanctuary City ordinance to keep personal medical decisions PRIVATE.” The mailout does not reference who paid for the ad and contains five major talking points, all of which contain false statements about the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances.  

This piece was written with the intent to address the misinformation in each of these five major talking points and to set the record straight about the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances which are being considered throughout Nebraska in the villages of Wallace (pop. 366), Brady (pop. 428), Paxton (pop. 523), Arnold (pop. 597), Hershey (pop. 665), and the City of Curtis (pop. 939). 

Misinformation Mailer from an Anonymous Source

Argument #1: “Abortion of any kind is already illegal in our town according to Nebraska Statute (28-3,106).”

To say, “Abortion of any kind is already illegal in our town according to Nebraska Statute 28-3, 106” is an easily debunked falsehood. 

Nebraska Revised Statute 28-3, 106 states, “No person shall perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion upon a woman when it has been determined, by the physician performing or inducing the abortion or by another physician upon whose determination that physician relies, that the probable postfertilization age of the woman’s unborn child is twenty or more weeks unless, in reasonable medical judgment (1) she has a condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function or (2) it is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child. No such condition shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct that would result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. In such a case, the physician shall terminate the pregnancy in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive unless, in reasonable medical judgment, termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk either of the death of the pregnant woman or of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman than would another available method. No such greater risk shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which would result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

Abortion is prohibited in all of Nebraska after twenty or more weeks post-fertilization. That means that right now, unborn children less than twenty weeks post-fertilization are not protected and in danger of death by abortion. 

These ordinances, if passed, would prohibit abortion in these communities from the moment of conception, definitively saying, “Abortion may happen elsewhere, but not in our communities.” 

Abortion is defined by the ordinances 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 term does not include birth-control devices or oral contraceptives, and it does not include Plan B, morning-after pills, or emergency contraception.” The ordinances are clear, however, that an act is not an abortion if the act is done with the intent to “save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child; remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage; or remove an ectopic pregnancy.” 

Argument #2: “‘The Sanctuary City for the Unborn’ ordinance prohibiting abortion here has proven to be costly in other towns. Other towns that have adopted similar ordinances have spent tens of thousands to over a million dollars when sued. Several towns have been forced to repeal it when challenged.” 

Out of the 51 communities which have passed ordinances outlawing abortion, only three separate challenges spanning nine different communities have been filed, and not a single one of those nine communities repealed their ordinance when it was challenged. The argument claims that other communities that have adopted similar ordinances have spent “tens of thousands to over a million dollars when sued.” One can only guess which communities this anonymous agitator is referring to. 

Out of the nine communities which did face legal challenges, 7 of those communities took advantage of the offer of legal representation from Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell, a former law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, who represented the cities at no cost to the city or taxpayers. Those seven communities were: Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary, and Wells. The lawsuit filed at the end of February 2020 against 7 of the communities lasted three months and resulted in the ACLU withdrawing the lawsuit and abortion remaining banned in all seven cities. The lawsuit did not cost the cities or the taxpayers of any of those cities one cent. 

The lawsuit against the City of Lubbock, Texas, the largest SCFTU in the nation, did not cost the city of Lubbock over a million dollars. After two weeks, Planned Parenthood lost in court. Planned Parenthood appealed its ruling in November 2021 and withdrew its lawsuit before the appeals court in January 2022. The only expense the City of Lubbock did incur was the expense the city leadership chose to incur from not using Attorney Mitchell, who was willing to represent the city at no cost to the city and taxpayers. 

The lawsuit against the City of Lebanon, Ohio, in May 2022 is still ongoing. Still, pro-life leaders in the community are optimistic that their city will see a victory just as the other cities have. While Attorney Mitchell agreed to represent the City of Lebanon at no cost to the city and taxpayers, and he is doing so, the City of Lebanon chose to also hire an additional attorney in Ohio at the expense of the city and taxpayers. Those expenses, which were entirely unnecessary for the City of Lebanon to incur, are nowhere close to a million dollars. And right now, abortion remains banned in Lebanon, Ohio. 

No community was “forced to repeal” their ordinance when challenged, and the only costs which were incurred from lawsuits against cities were costs that the cities themselves chose to incur – but even those costs were not what the mailer makes them out to be. 

Argument #3: “Voting NO on the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance keeps personal healthcare decisions private.” 

The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances does not force personal healthcare decisions into the public square because elective abortions are not healthcare. Elective abortions are the intentional murder of an innocent unborn human being. Not one of the Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances prevents women from obtaining necessary healthcare in their communities, but all of the Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances do prevent abortionists from performing an elective abortion within the jurisdiction of the community. 

While many will argue that elective abortion is healthcare and that elective abortions are beneficial to women, the truth is that elective abortion is never healthcare and elective abortions always hurt women. The village ordinances are clear that “An act is not an abortion if the act is done with the intent to: save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child; remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage; or remove an ectopic pregnancy.” The life of the mother is addressed in the village ordinances under D-3 Affirmative Defense, which state, “It shall be an affirmative defense to the unlawful acts described…if the abortion was in response to a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

The Curtis ordinance, which says, “It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an elective abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the city of Curtis, Nebraska,” clearly defines an “elective abortion” as “any abortion that is not performed or induced in response to a medical emergency” and defines “medical emergency” as “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

Abortion really does hurt women and ends the life of their children. It is for this very reason that so many across Nebraska want to do their part and make sure that this practice never becomes a reality in their communities. 

Argument #4: “Already there are documented cases of women dying in Texas communities that have enacted similar ordinances when healthcare providers delay or refuse treatment because they are afraid of being sued and losing their licenses to practice.”

This is a bold-faced lie whose anonymous author never expects to answer. There are no documented cases of “women dying in Texas communities that have enacted similar ordinances when healthcare providers delay or refuse treatment because they are afraid of being sued and losing their licenses to practice.” 

Argument #5: “Besides violating Nebraska law, free speech, and the right to privacy, this ordinance seeks to pit neighbor against neighbor over the most fundamental right of self-determination and autonomy over one’s own body. This right belongs to individuals and not the government. If we don’t stop it here, which rights will be taken away next?” 

The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances do not violate Nebraska law. All of the cities on the November ballot are either in the category of a village (Arnold, Brady, Hershey, Paxton, and Wallace) or a second class city (Curtis). Nebraska Revised Code Section 17-505 states, “In addition to their special powers, cities of the second class and villages shall have the power to make all such ordinances, bylaws, rules, regulations, and resolutions, not inconsistent with the laws of the state, as may be expedient for maintaining the peace, good government, and welfare of the corporation and its trade, commerce, and manufactories, and to enforce all ordinances by inflicting fines or penalties for the breach thereof, not exceeding five hundred dollars for any one offense, recoverable with costs.”

The village Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances state, “To maintain the peace, good government, and welfare of the village, the Board of Trustees finds it necessary to outlaw abortion within the Village.” According to Nebraska Revised Statutes 17-207(11), “The village board of trustees shall have power to pass ordinances . . . (11) to maintain the peace, good government, and welfare of the village and its trade and commerce.”

The second class city Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, states, “To maintain the peace, good government, and welfare of the city, the City Council finds it necessary to outlaw abortion within the City.” According to Nebraska Revised Statutes § 17-123, “A city of the second class shall have the power to make regulations to secure the general health of the city, to prevent and remove nuisances within the city and within its extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction, and to provide the city with water.”

For years the State Legislature has treated abortion as an issue that impacts a woman’s health and the Nebraska statutes are clear that “cities of the second class and villages shall have the power to make all such ordinances, bylaws, rules, regulations, and resolutions, not inconsistent with the laws of the state, as may be expedient for maintaining the peace, good government, and welfare of the corporation and its trade, commerce, and manufactories.” 

No law in Nebraska protects abortion access in every village and city in Nebraska, and no law in Nebraska forbids abortion access in every village and city in Nebraska. Cities and villages in Nebraska have the ability to make laws that are stricter than the laws of the state of Nebraska as long as those laws do not conflict with state law. The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances on the ballot on November 8 were not written to conflict with the state law of Nebraska but to work within the state law of Nebraska. 

The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances for Arnold, Brady, Hershey, Paxton, and Wallace do not violate anyone’s free speech either. The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances actually states that “No provision . . . may be construed to prohibit any conduct protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as made applicable to state and local governments through the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.” 

Likewise, the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance for Curtis states, “No provision of this section may be construed to prohibit any conduct protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as made applicable to state and local governments through the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, or by Article I-5 of the Nebraska Constitution.”

These ordinances do not violate anyone’s privacy, but these ordinances protect innocent unborn children from being murdered by abortion within the jurisdiction of these communities. These ordinances do not “pit neighbor against neighbor” but seek to “love our neighbor” by making sure that we live in communities where our pregnant neighbor mothers are not traumatized by abortion and our unborn neighbors are not killed by an abortionist or by abortion-inducing drugs. 

While some may want the residents of these communities to believe that these ordinances violate an established “right of self-determination and autonomy over one’s own body,” what these ordinances actually do is protect women and their unborn children from the trauma of abortion and abortion-inducing drugs. No human being in this world has a right to kill another innocent human being. The child in the womb is not a part of the mother’s body but is a separate body made in the image of God and worthy of our protection. 

For over 50 years, unborn children have been denied the “right to life” and this ordinance establishes, once and for all, that in these communities, unborn children have the “right to life.” This ordinance is not about taking away rights; it is about establishing the rights of the smallest and most vulnerable in a Post-Roe Nebraska.

 A church in Wallace, Nebraska proudly displaying a “Choose Life” sign. 

In Closing

Much like this mailer from this anonymous agitator, the abortion industry will say anything to deceive women into thinking that “abortion” is the answer to all of their problems. The truth is that abortion does not help anyone. Abortion does not help the mother of the unborn child, abortion does not help the father of the unborn child, and abortion certainly does not help the unborn child. As you have seen in this article, the mailer’s message to “Vote NO on the Sanctuary City Ordinance” is based on lie after lie after lie.

The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances, however, are based on truth after truth after truth. The first three findings of the six Nebraska ordinances are unmistakable on this point: “(1) Human life begins at conception; (2) Abortion is a murderous act of violence that purposefully and knowingly terminates an unborn human life; (3) Unborn human beings are entitled to the full and equal protection of the laws that prohibit violence against other human beings.” 

In April 2021, after Hayes Center became the first city in Nebraska to outlaw abortion, Governor Pete Ricketts took notice, commenting, “Nebraska is a pro-life state, and communities are working to recognize and protect innocent life in a variety of ways. The Biden-Harris Administration is pushing a radical, pro-abortion agenda, and Nebraska must do everything we can to stand against the abortion lobby.” 

Do you believe that human life begins at conception? Do you believe abortion is a murderous act of violence that purposefully and knowingly terminates an unborn human life? Do you believe that unborn human beings are entitled to the full and equal protection of the laws that prohibit violence against other human beings? If the answer to all three of those answers is YES, and you are a resident of Arnold, Brady, Curtis, Hershey, Paxton, or Wallace, then I would encourage you to vote YES on the Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance on your November 8 ballot.

Mark Lee Dickson takes a picture with Arnold residents working to see abortion outlawed in their community.

Photo Credits: Mark Lee Dickson

+ posts

Mark Lee Dickson lives in Texas and serves as a Director with Right to Life of East Texas and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative.

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.