“Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate;” Amos 5:15 (ESV)
This is exactly what Waskom, Texas is seeking to do with its latest city ordinance.
On Tuesday, June 11, Waskom City Council voted unanimously to outlaw abortion and declare the town a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.” This new measure will prevent abortion providers from conducting business in the town.
Waskom, a city with just over 2,000 residents, became the first in Texas to pass such a measure.
As Fox News reported, Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas, was key to getting the measure passed by the council. It was he who presented the idea initially because he was “frustrated elected officials in Austin were not passing any ‘meaningful legislation that protects unborn life.’”
"This is why we had to take things into our own hands and take it to the grassroots level. Due to the recent pro-life legislation in Louisiana being so strong and due to the risk of an abortion clinic one day moving to Waskom, Texas, we decided to do something to protect the city, which was passing an ordinance outlawing abortion in Waskom, Texas," said Dickson.
This ordinance takes organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, etc., that provide abortions, and labels them “criminal organizations” within Waskom city limits.
Many people are claiming such action is unwarranted since there is no abortion facility currently operating within Waskom’s city limits. But this is the council’s exact intention. Robin Rothrock, former Director of Hope Medical Clinic, an abortion clinic just 20 miles east of Waskom, spoke to the Shreveport Times in the early 90’s. She hinted at the idea that Hope might move locations right over the Texas line if abortion were ever outlawed in Louisiana. This idea is still very much alive and applicable today. But thanks to the courage of this small texas town, it won't be happening any time soon. Waskom is essentially standing up and saying, "We WILL NOT kill our preborn children here, and now neither will you..."
“...try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:10-11 (ESV)
Jon Speed, a pastor and co-author of the bill said he commends Waskom for their willingness to stand up for the preborn.
“I am very thankful for the boldness of the city council of Waskom. Not only were they willing to go beyond a mere proclamation and add an ordinance to the concept of the Sanctuary City for the Preborn, but they are willing to take this fight to end abortion to the next level. They are willing to act like people who really believe that abortion is murder."
That being said, the ordinance is not without flaw. The measure makes exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother. Furthermore, the ordinance does not penalize women who seek or undergo abortions, but does declare abortion as “unlawful” and “murder.”
Speed went on to say he was disappointed in the exceptions added to the measure in the late stages of development, but is hopeful that it will send a strong message to the rest of the country.
"In spite of some real weaknesses in the ordinance, this sends a strong message to the pro-abortion world. Businesses and organizations that do abortion are criminal organizations. The Supreme Court was wrong. Abortion is murder. It may not be all I had hoped for. But it makes some statements that will send the pro-abortion world into a tailspin. And maybe the pro-life world for that matter."
Mayor Jesse Moore warned the town members about the possible lawsuits to follow the vote, stating that the case could “go to the Supreme Court.”
“If we go to the Supreme Court, we’ll have to pay the other side of the attorney fees so...y’all save your nickels and pennies. We may need them,” Moore said.
This is what real courage looks like. Despite the opposition they knew would follow, these local officials were willing to risk lawsuit and reputation in order to stand in the gap for the preborn.
Regardless of the flawed exceptions, this sends a message to the state of Texas, the Supreme Court, and the rest of the country. This sends a clear statement that “babies will not be murdered here.”
Here’s to hoping more cities follow suit and establish justice within their own gates.