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On Wednesday, February 10th, the West Texas city of Goldsmith (population 257), located about 20 miles northwest of Odessa, became the 19th city in the nation to pass an enforceable ordinance outlawing abortion within its city limits. Councilman Glen Henderson made the motion to pass the ordinance outlawing abortion and Councilman Robert Clinton seconded the motion. The vote by the full city council was unanimous.
The City of Goldsmith is the second city to have outlawed abortion since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris released a statement on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, expressing their deep commitment to ensuring access to abortion in every zip code. The city of Goldsmith is the only incorporated city in the 79741 zip code.
The Goldsmith Ordinance states, “To protect the health and welfare of all residents within the City of Goldsmith, including the unborn, the City Council finds it necessary to outlaw abortion under city law.” The Goldsmith Ordinance goes on to state, “It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the City of Goldsmith, Texas,” and that “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Goldsmith, Texas.” Abortion is defined in the ordinance as, “the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.”
The ordinance does not define abortion to include birth control devices or oral contraceptives, and the act is not considered an abortion if it is done with the intent to “save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child, remove a dead unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage, or remove an ectopic pregnancy.”
The ordinance outlawing abortion contains both public and private enforcement mechanisms. The public enforcement mechanism (or “delayed enforcement mechanism”) establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who aids and abets the abortionist for any abortion which takes place within the city limits of Goldsmith. These penalties cannot be imposed unless the “individual seeking to impose the penalty . . . has determined that the imposition or threatened imposition of this penalty . . . will not create an ‘undue burden’ on women seeking abortions,” OR the “person, corporation, or entity who committed the unlawful act . . . lacks standing to assert the third-party rights of women seeking abortions in court” OR the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).”
The private enforcement mechanism (or “immediate enforcement mechanism”) is not dependent upon Roe v. Wade being overturned and is immediately enforceable. This section of the Goldsmith Ordinance states, “Any person, corporation, or entity” that commits an abortion “other than the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted, shall be liable in tort to a surviving relative of the aborted unborn child, including the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings or half-siblings. The person or entity that committed the unlawful act shall be liable to each surviving relative of the aborted unborn child for: (a) Compensatory damages, including damages for emotional distress; (b) Punitive damages; and (c) Costs and attorneys’ fees.” Section F-4 of the Goldsmith Ordinance states that “Private enforcement . . . may be brought against any person, corporation, or entity that commits an unlawful act . . . upon the effective date of the ordinance, regardless of whether the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), and regardless of whether the current jurisprudence of the Supreme Court permits states and municipalities to punish those who violate abortion prohibitions.”
The City of Goldsmith is one of the two incorporated cities located in Ector County, Texas, a largely conservative county. During the 2018 Republican Party Primary, voters in Ector County had the opportunity to vote on proposition #7. This proposition gave voters the chance to voice their opinion if they were “In Favor” or “Against” this following statement: “I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.” In Ector County, out of 8,025 votes, 5,821 voted in favor of the idea of abolishing abortion in the state of Texas and 2,204 voted against the idea.
The only other incorporated city in Ector County besides Goldsmith is the City of Odessa (population 123,334) where both the Mayor and two of their City Council members are seeking to see their city become one of the next to outlaw aboriton. When Odessa Mayor Javier Joven heard the news Wednesday night, he was excited for the City of Goldsmith.
“When I heard the news of Goldsmith outlawing abortion I was ecstatic for the residents of Goldsmith. Their Mayor and City Council have taken a strong stand for life, determining that their city is going to be a city of life.” Mayor Joven continued, “Their vote is a reflection of the Godly people that reside in Goldsmith who have not forsaken their morals and regard abortion as murder – the taking of an innocent life made in the image of God. The unanimous vote in Goldsmith is encouraging and I am hopeful that in the future we see the same type of ordinance pass here in Odessa, Texas.”
More cities are expected to outlaw abortion in the near future.
For more information about the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative visit www.
Mark Lee Dickson is a Director with Right to Life of East Texas, a Pastor of SovereignLOVE Church in Longview, Texas, and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative.
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