On Tuesday, the City Council of Gilmer, Texas, joined a growing trend around the state, voting to outlaw abortion within its city limits. The Sanctuary City ordinance, which passed with a 4-1 vote, bans all abortions in the city. While there are currently no abortion facilities within city limits, the ordinance prevents any from opening there in the future.
The Sanctuary City initiative is spearheaded by Mark Lee Dickson, Director of Right to Life East Texas. “This is not a political game, this is not just, we are going to say we are pro-life and not vote like it, this is an opportunity for the city council of Gilmer to not just say there are pro-life, but actually be pro-life by passing an ordinance,” Dickson told ABC-affiliate KTLV.
With the vote, Gilmer becomes the sixth jurisdiction in Texas to pass such a law, joining Waskom, Omaha, Naples, Joaquin, and Tenaha. However, unlike the other towns, Gilmer did not outlaw the use of emergency contraceptives, which can function as abortifacients. While it praised the passage of the ordinance, Dickson’s group, Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, also expressed concern for this omission, saying, “This is a great concern to us and a reminder that the fight to end all abortions in Gilmer, Texas, is far from over. The ordinance does, however, prevent surgical and medical abortion clinics from moving into the city and setting up shop.”
The Longview News-Journal reports that there was some concern over the constitutionality of the law before its passage. City Manager Greg Hutson was quick to point out that the ruling is in place should Roe v. Wade be overturned in the future. “The thinking by many in the pro-life movement is … at some point in the future, Roe v. Wade may very well be overturned,” he said. “This is a preemptive measure.”
Hutson also added that the abortion provider, and not the woman seeking an abortion, would receive penalties.
According to Texas Right to Life, Gilmer’s population of about 5,000 makes it the largest Texas city thus far to ban abortion. “Texas Right to Life applauds the members of Gilmer City Council and the city manager for their bold action to protect preborn children,” the group wrote in a press release. “Because of the size of the town, Texas Right to Life anticipates that more cities will soon follow Gilmer‘s example and prevent the violence of the abortion industry from spreading to their communities.”
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