The ordinance lets citizens sue those who perform or aid abortions. The mothers who procure them can sue but are immune from lawsuits themselves.
Specifically, the living kin of the aborted child may sue for compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, any private citizen may sue for injunctive relief or statutory damages.
The ordinance makes an exception to save the mother’s life or health.
“It shall be an affirmative defense to the unlawful acts… if the abortion was in response to a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed,” the ordinance reads.
Passage of Levelland’s ordinance was all but assured after it passed on first reading in mid-May. City law required the ordinance to pass a second time on June 7. Both votes were unanimous.
“I think this is what 99.9 percent of Levelland is going to say,” Councilman Jim Myatt said before the first reading, according to the Levelland & Hockley County News-Press.
No public commenters spoke against the ordinance.
Levelland has a population of about 14,000. Sundown’s population, a bit smaller, is about 1,500.
The Sundown City Council voted to adopt the ordinance yesterday.
Levelland and Sundown follow Abernathy and Poynor, the 25th and 26th “sanctuaries,” respectively.
The ordinance recently won in court after Planned Parenthood sued Lubbock, so far the only “sanctuary” with a working abortion clinic, and lost. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing, citing court precedent and state law — namely the newly passed Heartbeat Act — that appears to allow citywide abortion bans.
Fellow cities that have adopted the ordinance tend to congregate near the state’s eastern and western poles, with most of the western cities in the Panhandle. Murchison, west of Tyler, sits the closest to I-35.
Dickson anticipates more growth for the “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” initiative in these areas but said he’s heard calls from citizens in South Texas, West Texas, and the Rio Grande Valley as well.
“There is much interest to see abortion outlawed in several cities across Texas including great cities like Centerville, Shenandoah, Dickinson, San Angelo, and Tyler,” Dickson stated.
“We recently had about 150 people at a noon interest meeting in San Angelo. Most of those in attendance were community leaders. People are rising up everywhere — especially in cities like McAllen, El Paso, San Antonio.”
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