While most think of immigration when the term “sanctuary city” comes up, one East Texas town is taking on the label in a bid to tackle the issue of abortion.
The town of Gilmer in Texas recently passed a local ordinance making itself a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” ABC affiliate KLTV reported.
In doing so Gilmer joined five other Texas cities –Waskom, Omaha, Naples, Joaquin and Teneha – that have passed similar laws barring abortion.
The “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” website also lists one “city of death”: Austin, Texas.
Mark Lee Dickson, the director of Longview-based Right to Life East Texas, announced the news in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“Tonight the City of Gilmer, Texas (Population 5,216) became the SIXTH CITY in the nation to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion, becoming a Sanctuary City for the Unborn!” he wrote.
Dickson told KLTV that he viewed the city council vote as an opportunity for local lawmakers to show they were willing to act.
“This is not a political game, this is not just, we are going to say we are pro-life and not vote like it, this is an opportunity for the city council of Gilmer to not just say there are pro-life, but actually be pro-life by passing an ordinance,” he said.
The abortion debate in the United States in 2019
Earlier this year, protests broke out amid a backdrop of contentious debate over legislation in southern states aimed at restricting abortion.
“Heartbeat bills,” which prohibit most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, passed in nine states this year, with Alabama lawmakers voting to effectively outlaw the procedure entirely.
A coalition of progressives, feminists and pro-choice advocates have consistently and vehemently protested the legislative trend.