The justices of the peace voted, 10-4, to make Washington County the first pro-life county in the state, reported 40/29 News.
Justice of the Peace Patrick Deakins introduced the resolution before the packed courtroom, complete with abortion rights activists dressed as Handmaid’s Tale characters, who opposed the declaration.
“Somewhere out there tonight, there’s a woman in conflict and facing an uncertain future,” Deakins said during the meeting. “May she know, through the voice of this resolution and our county as a whole, she and her child are loved and that help is out there. Choose life.”
While the resolution does not ban abortions in the county, it makes the statement that Washington County promotes itself as “pro-life” and publicly supports pro-life initiatives.
The resolution is passed as Americans are finding some of their most significant social and cultural issues are being debated at the most local of levels – in their towns and cities, school districts and county forums.
Another grassroots pro-life initiative, Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, is inviting local cities and towns to approve and enact ordinances that outlaw abortion within their limits.
Currently, the Sanctuary Cities initiative includes 33 cities, 30 in Texas, two in Nebraska, and one in Ohio, that have banned abortion.
“Washington County, Arkansas, did not ban abortion, but it is obvious that there was a strong desire by the leadership of the county to make a public stand against the murder of innocent unborn children,” Mark Lee Dickson, founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, told Breitbart News.
“Every day people across America are realizing that discussions on abortion, bans on gay conversion therapy, critical race theory, and slavery reparations are starting to take place in our city hall and county commission chambers,” he noted.
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
In Washington County, Justice of the Peace Eva Madison voted against the “Pro-Life” resolution.
“I think that woman out there making that very difficult decision doesn’t want any of our input,” she said in response to Deakins. “If you want to get rid of abortion, educate people and pass out birth control. If you want to legislate on abortion, go to Little Rock.”
But Dickson, who is also the director of Right to Life of East Texas, explained Madison “is wrong to state that abortion should only be addressed in Little Rock and not in Washington County.”
“If unborn children are ever murdered by abortion in their county, it will not be their state capital’s problem, but theirs,” he observed.
Prior to the Washington County meeting, one abortion rights activist was removed from the meeting, 40/29 News reported. Others protested outside the courtroom with signs that read, “My Body, My Choice.”
Justice of the Peace Evelyn Rios Stafford offered an amendment to the resolution that the “Pro-Life” designation would come with health care, child care, housing, and a living wage, but the court voted down the provision.
A woman who identified herself as an “ordained Presbyterian pastor” who resides within the county said during her public comment she is “pro-lives,” and named various identity categories she supports.
“Abortion is normal health care that has been stigmatized in the name of religion,” Angela Williams said. “And now let me be clear, God does not hate abortion. Abortion saves lives, and God blesses people who have abortions.”
Deakins explained to 5NEWS that while the resolution that Washington County is “Pro-Life” does not have a legal impact on abortion, it is intended to “send a clear message.”
“I want to highlight all the organizations that do great work to help families and mothers chose life,” Deakins said last week.
“The biggest misconception about the resolution is that it’s somehow taking somebody’s rights away,” he emphasized. “A resolution doesn’t have any legal authority or [is] binding in any way.”
Opponents to the resolution, including the Washington County Democrats, said it was “divisive,” 5NEWS reported, and some critics argued it would open up the county to liability issues related to a statement that appeared, to them, to be unconstitutional.
“People want to make it into taking someone’s choice or right away; in fact, it’s the opposite,” Deakins said nevertheless. “I want expectant mothers and families who might be experiencing a crisis or indetermination about their situation to seek help. We have resources in this area.”
Deakins said he hoped Washington County would begin a trend in other counties of the state.
As 5NEWS reported, Benton County, Arkansas, will also vote on adopting a “Pro-Life” resolution at the end of July.
Justice of the Peace Joseph Bollinger, who authored the Benton County resolution, said it has significant support in the county.
“It’s definitely a value the community holds,” he stated.
Activist group Indecline has claimed responsibility for hanging a banner that declares “God Bless Abortions” over the statue of Christ of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas News reported Friday. https://t.co/G0ZrsHn9Z8
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 9, 2021
In December, pro-life organization Americans United for Life ranked Arkansas the most pro-life state in America.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) recently signed into law the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act that prohibits abortions in all cases except to save the life of the mother.
Guerilla pro-abortion activist group Indecline claimed responsibility last week for draping a banner that read “God Bless Abortions” over the statue of Christ of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
“In the near future we will be hearing about a city, which is quite large in Arkansas, bringing forth an ordinance to outlaw abortion within their city limits,” Dickson told Breitbart News. “I would encourage any mayor or city council member who is interested in seeing abortion outlawed in their city to not hesitate to reach out.”
“Arkansas is a pro-life state and they would be representing their constituents well to outlaw abortion within their jurisdiction,” he added.