On Monday, May 15, the Latexo City Council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance.
“I’m glad to see this movement going on and I’m glad to be a part of this. I want this to spread across the state,” Councilman Harvey Bruner said.
The ordinance takes a twofold approach to enforcement. The City of Latexo will have the power to collect fines from people that carry out abortions if the fine will not impose an undue burden on women seeking abortions, the violator lacks standing to assert the third-party rights of women seeking abortions in court, or the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The current enforcement measure is private: the law allows the living kin of aborted children to sue their abortionists.
A number of statewide proposals moving through the Texas legislature use similar tactics to impose real penalties on abortions without direct government punishment.
State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) has introduced Senate Bill (SB) 8, “The Texas Heartbeat Act,” which would let citizens sue those who carry out or pay for abortions on children in the womb with detectable heartbeats. Sen. Kelly Hancock’s (R-North Richland Hills) preborn non-discrimination act (PreNDA) would empower certain close relatives of aborted children to sue their abortionists if the mother chose to abort the child because of its race, sex, or disability.
Another proposal at the state level similar to the basic “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” ordinance is the “trigger” ban, which would ban abortions across Texas if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Introduced by Sen. Angela Paxton (R-Allen), it became a priority for Lt. Governor Dan Patrick along with Hughes’ heartbeat bill.
Latexo is the latest in a burst of cities to join the accelerating initiative. Though several weeks passed between the 17th and 18th cities on the list, the town of Murchison became the 22nd “Sanctuary” on Tuesday, March 9, less than a week before Latexo’s vote. Gorman had taken the 21st spot on the list just five days prior.
Though Latexo — at a population of around 300 — follows a line of small towns becoming “sanctuaries,” the ripples are beginning to reach larger urban centers. One Fort Worth mayoral candidate quoted Latexo’s ordinance directly to preface his support for outlawing abortion in Fort Worth.
Big Spring is the largest “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” with a population just shy of 30,000.
Below is a map of all the cities in Texas that have adopted the ordinance.
Editorial: A previous version of the article failed to include certain conditions under which the ordinance’s violators could be fined. We regret the error.
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