The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed lawsuits against seven Texas cities that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities” for unborn children.
The cities of Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary, and Wells have all passed ordinances declaring that abortion will be illegal in the cities if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, although no criminal punishments would be imposed upon the mother.
The ACLU complaint states that while the ordinances banning abortion cannot be enforced under Roe v. Wade, they go further and list pro-abortion organizations as “criminal organizations.”
The ordinance of the City of Naples states that “Organizations that perform abortions and assist others in obtaining abortions are declared to be criminal organizations.” It lists as criminal organizations Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality, and Texas Equal Access Fund, among other groups.
The ACLU of Texas filed suit against the ordinances at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
“As a result of being designated criminal, Plaintiffs are prohibited from operating, speaking, and associating within these cities,” the ACLU’s complaint states.
In a statement to CNA, Pastor Mark Lee Dickson, the director of Right to Life of East Texas, called the legal action "a meritless lawsuit brought to deter and intimidate cities from enacting these ordinances, which are entirely constitutional and consistent with the laws of Texas."
"We have a legal team ready to defend these ordinances at no charge to the cities, and we are prepared to defend all other cities that enact these laws at no charge to the taxpayers," Dickson said.
"We are eager to defend these ordinances in court. With the new membership on the Supreme Court, we welcome court challenges to abortion laws that will weaken and lead to the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade."
The pro-life “sanctuary city” movement began last June when the Waskom City Council voted 5-0 to ban surgical and medical abortions.
Since then, ten other cities in Texas have adopted similar ordinances, all of them banning surgical and medical abortions and some banning the sale of emergency contraception. Four of the cities—Colorado City, Westbrook, Gilmer, and Big Spring—are not mentioned in the ACLU lawsuit.
All of the ordinances include clauses protecting the mother of an aborted child from punishment.
The group Texas Right to Life said the lawsuit is “a hodgepodge of complaints” and is “selectively targeting smaller cities that have passed the ordinance.”
The seven cities “acted within their constitutional rights to self-governance and within the scope of current U.S. Supreme Court abortion jurisprudence,” the group stated.
In addition to the 11 “sanctuary cities,” 12 more Texas cities are considering similar ordinances.
Some of the ordinances include the sale of emergency contraception on the list of banned practices.
While not all Christians believe that the morning-after pill is an abortifacient, the Catholic Church recognizes the pill as an abortifacient if it prevents a fertilized embryo from implanting in the woman’s uterus.
The Church teaches that, for victims of rape, use of emergency contraception can be morally licit to prevent conception as a means of self-defense, if testing determines that conception has not occurred by the time of usage.