The city of Waskom, Texas, has become the first in the nation to ban abortion, declaring itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
The Waskom city council unanimously voted Tuesday to adopt a resolution and an ordinance to make abortions in the city a criminal offense.
Jesse Moore, the mayor of Waskom, a city located 18 miles west of Shreveport, Louisiana, and called “The Gateway to Texas,” said the city council was approached by Right to Life East Texas with concerns that, with Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi having passed laws restricting abortions, abortion providers may consider Waskom to be an ideal location for a clinic.
“The citizens in Waskom, they don’t want to have an abortion clinic in Waskom, so they presented the board last night with an ordinance and resolution that will make abortions in the city of Waskom a criminal offense,” Moore said, according to the Marshall News Messenger.
Though the ordinance will not bar an abortion clinic from moving into Waskom, “if they do they’ll be breaking the law,” the mayor said.
The unanimous approval of the ordinance comes days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill into law that bans local governments from funding abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.
The law, which takes effect September 1, bars local governments from contracting in any way with abortion providers, and blocks cities from advocating for them.
The resolution declaring Waskom a “sanctuary city for the unborn” was modeled after one passed in Roswell, New Mexico, though Waskom’s ordinance makes it the first city in the nation to actually ban abortions.
Mark Lee Dickson, Right to Life East Texas director, told Fox News he became frustrated when lawmakers in Austin failed to pass “meaningful legislation that protects human life.”
“This is why we had to take things into our own hands and take it to the grassroots level,” he said. “Due to the recent pro-life legislation in Louisiana being so strong and due to the risk of an abortion clinic one day moving to Waskom, Texas, we decided to do something to protect the city, which was passing an ordinance outlawing abortion in Waskom, Texas.”
The Washington Post's coverage of what happened in Waskom, Texas. Friends, mark my words, we are watching history in the…
In a Facebook post referring to the national coverage Waskom – a city of 2,200 people – has received due to its new ordinance, Dickson said, “Friends, mark my words, we are watching history in the making.”
“Presenting this ordinance was the RIGHT thing to do,” he wrote in a statement reported by the Messenger. “Just as it is WRONG for mothers to murder their born children, it is equally WRONG for mothers to murder their pre-born children.”
Dickson said the U.S. Supreme Court “lied” in its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade when it invented a right to abortion.
“Nowhere in the Constitution do we find abortion to be a constitutional right,” he said. “As the ordinance continues to say, ‘Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a lawless and illegitimate act of judicial usurpation, which violates the Tenth Amendment by trampling the reserved powers of the States, and denies the people of each State a Republican Form of Government by imposing abortion policy through judicial decree.”
Moore said the city will have to “wait and see” as it proceeds with its new ordinance.
“It’s kind of scary because you don’t know what’s going to happen here in the near future, but from the support shown from the citizens last night, I think we’ll be able to fight it as far as we have to fight it to keep the law,” he said.
Dickson said the Waskom city council’s vote “has had a ripple effect across the state and people everywhere have been reaching out wanting to know how they can follow in the footsteps of Waskom, Texas, and outlaw abortion in their city.”