A conservative pro-life group is behind new laws in four counties in Texas and New Mexico that ban women from traveling out of state to get abortions, in a bid to further expand the practice.
Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn is the work of East Texas Right to Life Director Mark Lee Dickson and attorney Jonathan Mitchell, former Texas Solicitor General, author of the “Heartbeat” bill that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.
Together, they have helped more than 60 cities, including more than 50 in Texas, to ban abortion in those jurisdictions. Goliad County and Mitchell County, Texas, as well as Lea and Roosevelt counties, New Mexico, have become sanctuary counties.
They are also currently behind laws that would ban what they call “abortion trafficking,” or that would allow women to leave Texas to have abortions.
While much of conservative America already bans most abortions, Dickson and Mitchell have targeted conservative border towns in states with Democratic legislatures with this bill.
Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn is the work of East Texas Right to Life Director Mark Lee Dickson (pictured left) and attorney Jonathan Mitchell (pictured right), the former solicitor general of the Texas who drafted the “Heartbeat” bill that led to Roe’s overthrow. v. Wade by the Supreme Court
Dickson believes the traffic is in the name of the woman carrying the fetus, according to the washington postfor “the unborn child is always taken against his will.”
His law would seek to punish anyone who helps a woman cross state lines to get an abortion by offering her a car ride or funding her.
The proposal, backed by 20 Texas lawmakers, would allow a husband to sue his wife’s friend who offered to take her to an abortion.
The order would not punish the woman who sought an abortion.
Dickson and Mitchell’s latest idea was recently introduced by lawmakers in the city of Llano, Texas, which would ban abortion on “roads within the city or county limits.”
Getting to New Mexico or the more liberal city of Austin, for example, would require taking the state highways that run through Llano.
The city government of Llano filed the ordinance over fears it would further divide the city, despite the council’s strong pro-life leaning.
Marion Bishop, the mayor of Llano, supports the measure.
“Is it absolutely necessary? No, said Bishop. “Does that make a statement? Yes.’
The Roosevelt County Commission in New Mexico voted in January 2023 to pass an ordinance requiring abortion providers to comply with federal law in unincorporated parts of the county.
The Mitchell County Commission voted to pass an ordinance banning abortion and abortion trafficking in July 2023.
The Goliad County Commission voted to pass an ordinance banning abortion and abortion trafficking on August 28
In December 2022, Lea County in New Mexico voted unanimously to uphold federal abortion law.
However, Llano council members voted 4-1 to table the measure at next month’s council meeting.
“I’m not for abortion and that’s my personal belief,” said counselor Kara Gilliland. “But I can’t stay here knowing that there are 3,400 other citizens in this town who don’t necessarily have the same beliefs as me.”
“You can be mad at me if you want to,” council member Laura Almond added. “But I have to sleep with myself at night.”
Dickson expressed outrage.
“Is it the Austin City Council or is it the Conservative Llano City Council? He asked. “It’s far from over. … Show up at their businesses with a few signs.
A local pastor said he knew where Almond worked.
He even expressed disappointment with Mayor Bishop’s “symbolic” description of the bill.
“Llano Mayor Marion Bishop, while supportive of the ordinance, is wrong to say the measure is not absolutely necessary and largely symbolic,” he tweeted.
Texas is one of 12 US states where abortion is completely banned.
Abortion supporters say Dickson and Mitchell only stoke fear. Pictured: an abortion rights march in Austin in June 2022
“Abortion trafficking occurs throughout Texas, including the roads that run through Llano, Texas.”
He cited his success in the Texas city of Odessa, where he succeeded in replacing a council that had failed to advance its ordinance in three years.
“Guys, I don’t care if there’s only one person on your city council who wants to pass this,” Dickson told residents in another town in Texas. “If you have a personal relationship with a council member, contact them. »
Currently there is a list of 15 cities that Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn targets on its website, including Naples, Florida; South Lebanon, Ohio; Bellevue, Nebraska; Pueblo, Colorado and Bristol, Virginia.
They claim that 12 of the 13 ordinances they have submitted to various legislatures have been victories.
Abortion supporters say Dickson and Mitchell only stoke fear.
“The purpose of these laws is not to meaningfully enforce them,” said Neesha Davé, executive director of Texas-based Lilith Fund. “It’s the fear that’s the problem. It is the confusion that is in question.
To date, all six ordinances proposed by the group in the state have been passed.