A week later, on Thursday, Gorman became the 21st Texas town to outlaw abortion within city limits.
The small town’s all-female city commission voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance, which empowers the living kin of aborted children to sue their abortionists and establishes fines against them to be imposed in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Sitting in folding chairs in the sparsely furnished hall, citizens heard the first reading of the ordinance just before discussions of the city Easter Egg hunt.
City Commissioner Vicki Brown called the vote “a no-brainer.”
“I think we don’t have a choice. This is what we do. This is what we have to do,” Brown said.
“For the good of this town. For the good of the students. For the good of this community and the people who are around us.”
The initiative began as the brainchild of Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life East Texas. The average “Sanctuary” population is low, though Dickson has set his sights on Odessa and Lubbock, which would present a unique challenge as a home to one Planned Parenthood facility. Thus far, the ordinances have been preventative, though still carrying the force of law.
“The Gorman Ordinance contains both public and private enforcement mechanisms. The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who aids and abets the abortionist for an abortion taking place within the Gorman city limits. The ordinance states that the fines established under this section of the ordinance cannot be imposed unless Roe v. Wade is overturned or several other scenarios take place,” Dickson explained.
“The private enforcement mechanism, however, is not dependent upon Roe being overturned and is immediately enforceable. The private enforcement allows for family members of the unborn child killed by abortion to file a lawsuit against the abortionist and anyone who aids and abets the abortionist for the death of their unborn family member.”
Alongside Dickson’s emphasis of real legal consequence, Gorman Mayor David Perry said the ordinance carries symbolic meaning as well.
“I feel it is very important for small towns like Gorman to pass this Sanctuary City ordinance simply because the message it sends to the people outside of the community, but especially to all of the children and the citizens of the community,” Perry said.
Two city council members and the mayor of Odessa have expressed open support for passing the ordinance there, though so far the reluctant council has stymied the effort. Wary of legal trouble, the Lubbock City Council voted against the ordinance unanimously, sending it to the ballot for citizens to decide in an election this May.
Below is a complete map of Texas’ “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn.”
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