Local NewsCedar Park City Council at Odds Over Outlawing Abortion

At least two councilmen support the ordinance that would make Cedar Park Texas' fifteenth "Sanctuary City for the Unborn."
September 17, 2020
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Two Cedar Park councilmen have expressed support for a proposed ordinance that would outlaw abortion in town and whose adoption would make the north Austin suburb the fifteenth Texas town to become a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”

Councilmen Tim Kelly and Dorian Chavez have both shown support for the ordinance, with Councilwoman Anne Duffy dismissing the measure as “simply a Facebook post” and Councilman Mel Kirkland snubbing it outright.

“The mayor is all for protecting the life of the terrestrials with his mask mandate,” Kelly said. “I am sure he will protect the lives of those in the aquatic womb.”

Echoing Kelly in a video posted to Facebook, Chavez said he “definitely support[s] him.”

“I think protecting our children from being murdered after they’re born… I don’t think that’s really a state issue. In most cases, if a child is killed after it is born, that’s considered murder,” Chavez said. “If, I guess, you do it when they’re still in the woman’s uterus… that’s just abortion, right? You’re still killing the baby. I’ve always stood for the kids, I’ve gotten a lot of heat for standing up for the children, but I’m going to keep doing that.”

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The ordinance would enforce the abortion outlaw by holding abortion providers liable to the families of aborted children, allowing those relatives to sue providers. It also sets penalties against abortion providers to be paid if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“Private enforcement . . . may be brought against any person, corporation, or entity that commits an unlawful act . . . upon the effective date of the ordinance, regardless of whether the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), and regardless of whether the current jurisprudence of the Supreme Court permits states and municipalities to punish those who violate abortion prohibitions,” the ordinance reads.

Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale and other council members have dismissed the proposal, with Van Arsdale calling it a media stunt.

“Tim Kelly has a long history of stirring up division within our community to get the attention he craves,” he said.

Responding by email to The Texan, Duffy likewise snubbed the ordinance.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is not a city council initiative and simply a FB post,” Duffy wrote.

According to other members of the council, the proposed ordinance has not yet made its way onto the agenda. No discussions concerning it have taken place between members, formally or informally. Kirkland spoke strongly against the ordinance, saying its enactment would constitute a misuse of valuable city resources.

“This is a national issue, not a local issue. We focus on critical services provided to the residents of Cedar Park,” Kirkland said. “We serve all residents of Cedar Park per our city charter, and this is not something that should be in our wheelhouse. This is one of the biggest problems with local governments. They need to stay in their lane.”

Councilman Mike Guevara agreed that abortion law lies outside the purview of local governments but said that he would vote for the ordinance as a symbolic resolution rather than an enforceable law.

“I’m staunchly pro-life, so if there was something along that type of a resolution, then I would consider voting for that… If there was going to be anything that had any type of enforcement, or any type of teeth to it, then I would vote against it,” Guevara said. “It would have to be something that’s unenforceable because I don’t want the city to be attacked or have a lawsuit filed against us. That would use city resources for something that I look at as a federal issue at this point.”

The American Civil Liberties Union sued several “Sanctuary Cities of the Unborn” in Texas for calling abortion providers “criminal,” though dropped the suits later.

The ordinance is the brainchild of Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas, who tailored a similar ordinance for Lubbock earlier this month. Dickson told The Texan that the city of Ropesville is also currently considering it.

“Councilman Tim Kelly and Councilman Dorian Chavez are in the right for seeing the need to outlaw abortion within the city limits of Cedar Park,” Dickson said. “It’s time for all of our cities to stand up and to take a definitive action to make sure no unborn children are ever murdered in our cities.”

East Mountain was the last town to adopt this ordinance.

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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.

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