On Tuesday night, pro-life residents and advocates flocked to the city council meeting in Lindale, an East Texas town of around 5,000 residents just 14 miles northwest of Tyler.
For the fourth time, they were urging city officials to adopt an ordinance that would effectively outlaw abortion within city limits.
Instead of passing an ordinance, the council heeded the recommendation of the city attorney to adopt a non-binding resolution condemning abortion.
Such an ordinance was first adopted by the small town of Waskom last June, and several other cities have followed in their footsteps to declare themselves a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
Currently, twelve cities have adopted the ordinance: Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Gilmer, Westbrook, Rusk, Colorado City, Gary, Big Spring, and Wells.
According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Glen Patrick, the city’s attorney, argued before the council that the proposed ordinance would be unconstitutional because of its enforcement mechanisms.
Patrick was unavailable to comment on his opposition to the ordinance.
Mark Lee Dickson, the director of Right to Life of East Texas who has been leading the charge urging more cities to adopt the pro-life ordinance, said that Patrick did “not understand the ordinance” and that “it’s a great disservice to the residents of Lindale that Senator Bryan Hughes was not reached out to or any attorney that was involved in the writing of the ordinance.”
First, with a public enforcement mechanism, while an abortion facility will not be penalized immediately for operating within city limits, fines for performing each abortion will accrue over time and then be charged in full after Roe v. Wade is overruled.
A second, private enforcement mechanism allows individuals related to the unborn child who is aborted to sue those who committed or assisted in committing the abortion.
The resolution that was passed by the Lindale city council on Tuesday has no binding force, but simply condemns abortion.
“Not a single resident of the City of Lindale clapped after the city council passed the resolution of words instead of an ordinance of action,” wrote Dickson in Facebook post.
A similar resolution was passed last year in the East Texas town of Omaha, after the city council walked back the passage of an ordinance.
No abortion clinics are located in the towns that have passed the ordinances, nor have any lawsuits been filed against them because of the ordinances.
The movement has gained the attention of pro-choice activists, though, who have described it as a “growing epidemic.”
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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.