With three city council members voting in approval and two others abstaining, the town of East Mountain passed an ordinance declaring itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
Located in East Texas near Longview, the small town joins a dozen others in the Lone Star State to have an ordinance that effectively prohibits abortions within city limits.
Waskom, another East Texas town, was the first to pass such an ordinance in June of last year.
Since then, several towns in East and West Texas followed their lead to pass similar measures, but East Mountain is the first town to do so since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.
While no abortion facilities currently exist in the city of East Mountain or the other towns to pass the ordinance, pro-life residents in support of the measure say that it will help keep it that way.
Under the ordinances, abortionists and anyone assisting them that violate the ordinance will be fined for every abortion they conduct at the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Some municipal officials have opposed the effort, citing concerns about potentially opening up their cities to a lawsuit.
Thus far, the only legal challenge to the cities has come from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which did not argue against the abortion ban itself, but rather on the ordinances’ designation of specific organizations as “criminal” because of the assistance they lend to women in receiving abortions.
After the cities amended their ordinances removing the language that targeted specific organizations while keeping in the penalties that would still apply broadly to those assisting with abortion, the ACLU withdrew the lawsuit.
More recently, three abortion advocacy groups in Texas filed lawsuits against Mark Lee Dickson, the director of Right to Life of East Texas, for defamation by calling their organizations “criminal.”
In response, pro-life Texans filed eight lawsuits arguing that the term “criminal” used to describe groups that assist with abortions is “truthful” and “non-defamatory,” since pre-Roe abortion laws in Texas were never repealed by the state legislature.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.