East Texas Border City Outlaws Abortion, Becomes ‘Sanctuary City for the Unborn’

By Nancy Flory Published on June 15, 2019

A small city in East Texas bordering Louisiana just outlawed abortion within its city limits.

Waskom, population around 2,000, has joined Roswell, New Mexico and Riverton, Utah in becoming a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.” Two counties in New Mexico have also become sanctuary counties.

While Roswell and Riverton declared their cities sanctuary cities, they don’t have an ordinance that gives it “teeth,” pastor Jon Speed told The Stream. Speed wrote the resolution and ordinance that was passed by Waskom’s city council on Tuesday.

The Writing on the Wall

It all happened very quickly, said Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life East Texas. “God really laid it on my heart that there was a sense of urgency to this and that this was something that needed to really happen.” Dickson explained that Louisiana’s legislation on abortion is “getting stronger and stronger.” Texas has dropped the ball. “We are a purple state,” he added. “We couldn’t even get a heartbeat bill out of committee” in Texas’ legislative session this year. 

Rusty Thomas, national director of Operation Rescue and Operation Save America, said there were concerns that Louisiana abortion clinics might come to Texas. “I think what had happened was Mark was kind of seeing the writing on the wall. He was seeing that the laws in Louisiana were getting stricter and Texas was less stringent against abortion. So, he’s thinking, if push came to shove, the death industry would probably move across the border from Louisiana into Texas.”

Making History

The men decided that the best course of action was simply outlawing abortion in the city. Speed drafted the documents, Thomas spoke at a community meeting to “lead the charge” and Dickson read the resolution and the ordinance at the city council meeting. The city council unanimously voted for the resolution and ordinance.

All three men agreed that there were some weaknesses to the controversial ordinance. There are exceptions in the document that allow abortions to save the life of the mother, in cases of incest, and in cases of rape.

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But the ordinance still “made Texas history by [being] the first city to give a resolution to become a sanctuary city for the preborn. … With the ordinance, even with its weaknesses, [it] made national history.”

Even though Thomas believed the city council didn’t go far enough, “the bottom line is they have gone farther than any other city in the United States of America to reflect God’s heart and His desire for justice for His preborn children. And that is huge.”

Courage in Action

It took courage for Waskom to pass the ordinance. “During the meeting, they literally counted the cost. Like ‘We’re going to get sued for probably millions of dollars and we ain’t got it.’ It shows courage,” Thomas said. Still, people from all around the town came in support of the resolution and the ordinance. The packed room held Baptists, Pentecostals, Catholics and a few pastors. “There were a lot of different denominations represented saying, ‘Yes,’ and ‘Amen, we need to do this.'”

“These folks know that if they end up getting sued and they lose, it’s going to cost them,” said Speed. “So, I give the mayor and city council and the people of Waskom a lot of credit for looking that in the eye and then saying, that’s fine we’re going to do it anyway. It’s amazing boldness.” He added, “When a small town comes out and says ‘the Supreme Court can go pound sand,’ it’s kind of a big deal.”

Sovereign States

While it is a big deal, Speed explained that what Waskom did Tuesday was legal. “The local municipalities have a right to ignore an unjust ruling (referring to Roe v. Wade),” and there are precedents of municipalities ignoring federal law, like Colorado legalizing marijuana, among other examples. 

Thomas agreed. “We’re encouraging local governments simply to say ‘No’ to the bully in the sandbox. We have states like Colorado, who know there are federal laws against marijuana, but they don’t care what the federal law says. According to their state sovereignty, they’re going to get high. Of course, they’re doing this for evil.

“But according to the federal government that was bequeathed to us, they do have that right as a state to do that. And like other liberal states, they know — sanctuary cities, illegal immigration — it’s against the federal law. But what are they telling the feds? ‘Go pound sand. We’re going to do it. Why? Because we’re a sovereign state.'”

Conservative states haven’t yet gone that far, particularly on issues like the defense of innocent life and preserving God-ordained marriage. “Though we have the biblical, historical, moral and constitutional right to do it … we won’t do it. And this is problematic. See, we’re not just working to end the [abortion] holocaust, we’re working to get our government back to the way it was bequeathed to us.”

Other States to Follow

Waskom is just the latest city to become a sanctuary city. Others are already working their way toward that goal. People from coast to coast have been pleading with their city councils to do something about abortion, to make it illegal, said Dickson. He explained that voters sent representatives to Washington, D.C. to solve the abortion issue. But “none of the pro-life legislation that got passed really saves any babies.”

It’s important to fight abortion on the local level. “We’ve got to save our own cities. We’ve got to take matters in our own hands and make sure that our cities are safe. We’ve got to fight Roe v. Wade on the local level and until we do that, we’re never going to see it destroyed.”

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