Citizens of Celina, Ohio, collected sufficient signatures last week to meet the requirements to recall all four of their council members who voted against an ordinance that would ban abortion within the city’s limits.
Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right To Life of East Texas, and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative, told Breitbart News Monday that following a 4-3 vote against an ordinance banning abortion within the city of Celina, enough signatures were collected to recall all four of the council members who voted against the Sanctuary Cities ordinance.
“We are not happy with our current city council,” said Celina resident Sarah Bellman in comments reported to Breitbart News.
“This recall effort stems from our four council members voting against outlawing abortion in the City of Celina,” she added. “Prior to the council’s vote, over 650 citizens signed a petition saying they wanted to see the ordinance outlawing abortion on the books here in our city.”
Bellman observed 769 Celina residents voted in the last municipal election.
“Yet they ignored this completely,” she asserted. “In addition to this, over 80 businesses in Celina signed a petition in favor of the ordinance outlawing abortion within their city limits. What, then, are we to do? If our elected officials are not listening to us, if they are having backroom meetings with their minds already made up, what are we left to do but to recall those who are not representing us?”
Celina citizen Tom Sanford also said in comments sent to Breitbart News residents have four reasons for wanting to recall the four council members.
“We are attempting to recall the four council members for (1) disregarding the stated will of the majority of the residents of the City of Celina; (2) sending the wrong message to the born children in Celina regarding the value of human life and the worthiness of the protection of life; (3) putting unborn children at risk of being murdered within the city limits; and (4) putting businesses at risk of having an abortion facility located next door to their place of business,” he explained.
“We believe we turned in the necessary number of signatures,” Sanford added. “If this recall effort fails, based on any technicalities, then we will do our part to address those technicalities and, if need be, revisit the process.”
On November 8, Anson, Texas, became the 42nd Sanctuary City for the Unborn, making abortion illegal within its limits. The first Sanctuary City to pass the ordinance was Waskom, Texas, in June 2019.
Citizens of San Angelo, Texas, are among the most recent to form an initiating committee and file an ordinance with the city to begin the referendum process that could result in a ban on abortion within the city’s limits, Dickson wrote at Texas Scorecard, elaborating:
In order for the initiative to be successful, the committee will need to collect a total of 1,512 signatures from registered voters in the City of San Angelo. Upon those signatures being verified by the city clerk, a hearing will be held regarding the adoption of the ordinance. At the conclusion of that hearing, the city council will vote for or against the adoption of the ordinance. If the city council votes against the ordinance, the initiating committee has the ability to place the ordinance on the ballot for the issue to be decided by the voters of San Angelo in May 2022.
Passage of the abortion bans has drawn considerable controversy at the most local level of politics.
Other Ohio city councils faced voters following the approval of abortion bans, with differing results, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported November 2, noting Mason voters expelled two council members who voted in favor of the ban.
As WLWT5 News reported Wednesday, the Mason abortion ban is now “on hold,” after opponents to the ban filed a petition to halt the measure in favor of placing it on the ballot in 2022.
“I believe it did send a message,” Joy Bennett, who organized the effort to obtain more than 2,000 signatures, said, according to the news report.
“It’s very clear our community has not been happy with our leadership we’ve had in our city for the last two years,” Bennett added. “They’re not happy with the mayor. They’re not happy with the decisions they’ve made,”
In Lebanon, Ohio, however, where the City Council voted unanimously in May to outlaw abortion within its limits, two candidates who vocally opposed the city’s abortion ban lost their bids. Supporters of the ban endorsed the winners of those races.
Unanimously the Lebanon City Council just voted in support of this unconstitutional ordinance. ❌
This hyper-local strategy is another attempt by anti-choice politicians to stigmatize and ban abortion in Ohio, by whatever means necessary.
We’re reviewing next steps. https://t.co/eCgAYhBHnP
— ACLU of Ohio (@acluohio) May 26, 2021
Dickson told Breitbart News in August the focus on local communities making decisions for themselves about whether they want the ending of unborn lives occurring in their midst has been a game-changer.
“For so long, we’ve put our focus at what happens in Austin, Texas, and what happens in Washington DC, as the be all and end all,” he said in a phone interview. “And when I really became convinced – the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the realization that, if an abortion facility moves to Waskom, Texas, that would not be Austin’s problem, and it wouldn’t be Washington, DC’s problem. It would be Waskom’s problem. And that Waskom had this obligation to do something.”
Dickson’s Sanctuary City movement drew national attention in June, when a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against the city of Lubbock over its ordinance, citing a lack of jurisdiction.
Lubbock, Texas, became the largest city in the United States to declare itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” the 26th in the nation to outlaw abortion. https://t.co/L9bH5NpzXW
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 3, 2021
As Dickson has explained in the past, the movement’s signature ordinance contains two “enforcement mechanisms,” one public and one private.
“While the public enforcement mechanism is dependent upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the private enforcement mechanism is immediately enforceable,” he observed. “It is not reliant on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”
The ordinance’s private enforcement mechanism states:
Any person, corporation, or entity that commits an unlawful act … other than the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted, shall be liable in tort to the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings and 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.
Thus, the enforcement of the ordinance rests with private citizens who could file lawsuits if abortions take place within the city’s limits.
“It is still too early to know what May is going to look like, at this point, but it is possible that we could see San Angelo and Abilene vote on ordinances outlawing abortion in Texas, and Mason and Celina vote on ordinances outlawing abortion in Ohio,” Dickson told Breitbart News. “We will have to wait to see what happens. A lot can happen between now and then.”