In June of 2019, Waskom, Texas was the first ever city to become a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” by ordinance in America. Shortly after, several other cities in Texas followed suit, making it the first state to outlaw abortions as a whole in over 10 cities. These cities define abortion as “murder with malice aforethought” and consider abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood, and other places like them criminal organizations. All the cities listed below have outlawed surgical and medical abortions. None of the ordinances listed below are enforceable until certain court cases have been struck down (Roe and Doe), and no woman who aborts or purchases EC is to be charged with a crime. Also note that with these ordinances, it is not considered an abortion if done for the life and health of the child, to remove a dead child, or to remove due to an ectopic pregnancy.
Abortion is still legal in the state of Texas, but these cities are leading the way when it comes to saving the lives of the unborn. Here is a quick overview of the current sanctuary cities, which cities have potential to also take a stance, and the cities which have denied being a part of the movement.
During the 2018 Republican Party Primary, Texas citizens had the opportunity to vote on Proposition #7 stating abortion should be abolished in Texas. Out of 6,949 votes, 5,265 voted in favor of the proposition, while 1,684 voted against it. On June 11, 2019, the City Council of Waskom voted on the Sanctuary City of the Unborn Ordinance and it passed unanimously.
“This is something that has teeth that will actually allow the City of Waskom to protect themselves from having an abortion clinic here. Whether that’s one that comes from the North, East, or wherever, Waskom will be protected,” said Mark Dixon, with Right to Life East Texas.
Waskom became the first city to join the Sanctuary City of the Unborn Ordinance.
Read the Waskom, Texas ordinance here
NAPLES & OMAHA, TEXAS
These two cities located in Northeast Texas were the second and third cities in the state to become Sanctuary Cities For the Unborn. The City Council for Naples voted on September 9, 2019. It was a 5-1 vote, with 4 being for the abolition of abortion, and one being against it. Even though Omaha passed this bill unanimously, they later tried to go back on the decision and make it a resolution rather than the ordinance. Both are still a part of the ordinance, even with a tricky case in Omaha.
Read the ordinance here
Joaquin is a small town in East Texas which became the fourth city in the state to become a sanctuary city.
“Unborn children are the most vulnerable among us and we want to make sure in this city, no unborn child is murdered in this city,” said Mark Lee Dickson, Right to Life East Texas.
The town voted unanimously on September 17, 2019.
Read the ordinance here
Tenaha, Texas is a small but vocal city when it comes to defending the unborn. It is not only by belief but also experience that many in the town have spoken out and have become the fifth city in Texas to become a sanctuary city for the unborn.
Tenaha City Secretary Amanda Treat, gave a personal experience relating to the vote:
“I was 17 when I became pregnant with my first child. I was given an option because of my age… and I chose life. Had I made the other choice I would not have my child; I would not have the memories. The best thing [is] the excitement of seeing that child grow. Now he’s 22, and I can’t for one day think of my child not being here.”
The vote from the council to become a sanctuary city took place on September 23, 2019.
Read the ordinance here
Gilmer is a town in East Texas and has become the sixth city in Texas to become a Sanctuary City For the Unborn. The city has a population of 5,000 and considers themselves a safe haven for the unborn rather than a sanctuary city.
A resident of the city, Cassie Hutton, said of the issue of abortion:
“Cities must get involved. If we want our cities to flourish and prosper, we have to consider the health and well-being of every individual. Abortion does not promote health and well-being in any way—it only causes trauma and leaves us with one less life to embrace and love.” She continued, “Every small beginning is a victory. If we want to see National change on abortion, it starts with the small beginnings and taking a stance, like we see in Gilmer, Texas.”
Gilmer voted 4-1 to become a sanctuary city on September 24, 2019.
Westbrook, Texas has become the seventh city to declare themselves as a sanctuary city for the Unborn, and the first city in West Texas to pass this ordinance. The city has been outspoken about the issues with abortion and how it needs to be stopped, and this vote, they believe, will help. Westbrook voted unanimously to become a sanctuary city on November 18, 2019.
Read the ordinance here
Rusk, Texas is the first city to table the discussion of becoming a sanctuary city. On November 21, 2019, the city council voted 3-0 to table the discussion for a later time so all council members could be present for the vote. The vote took place on January 9, 2020 with 3 in favor and 2 against. In taking this action, Rusk became the eighth city to become a sanctuary city for the Unborn.
COLORADO CITY, TEXAS
Colorado City, Texas is the second city in West Texas to become a Sanctuary City For the Unborn. The biggest threat in West Texas is Planned Parenthood and Colorado City is aware of this. It has been a battle throughout the state whether or not abortion should be outlawed. The battle to save the lives of the unborn is far from over in Texas but Colorado City believes they are helping lead the way in outlawing the act throughout the state. On January 14, 2020, the city council voted on the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance with 5 in favor and 1 against. In taking this action, Colorado City became the ninth city to be a part of the ordinance.
Gary, Texas is another city in the state which wants to do whatever it takes to outlaw abortion. After listening to several comments from those for and against abortion, the city council voted on the ordinance on January 16, 2020. The vote was unanimous. In taking this action, Gary became the tenth city to be a part of the ordinance.
BIG SPRING, TEXAS
Big Spring, Texas is the third city in West Texas to become a sanctuary city. The city council first voted on the ordinance on December 10, 2019, and proceeded to have three more meetings to discuss the vote. The vote was 4-2 in favor and passed on January 28, 2020. In taking this action, Big Spring became the eleventh city to become a sanctuary city for the Unborn.
Wells, Texas became the twelfth city to become a sanctuary city in the state of Texas. The city recognizes every life is valuable, born and unborn, and deserves to be protected under the law. The city council took a unanimous vote on February 10, 2020. In taking this action, Wells has become a Sanctuary City For the Unborn.
Whiteface, Texas is a small West Texas town which has effectively outlawed abortion within their city limits by voting 3-2 to become a Sanctuary City For the Unborn. On March 12, 2020, Whiteface became the thirteenth city in Texas to become a sanctuary city.
To learn more about the cities who are a part of the ordinance and the potential cities, as well as becoming a sanctuary city, you can visit https://sanctuarycitiesfortheunborn.org/
Kara is a firm defender of faith, truth & life. She is a contributor for the Rogue Review & maintains a personal blog called "Black Coffee At Midnight" about faith & life’s unpredictable journey.