Will Amarillo become a Sanctuary City for the Unborn?

The Lubbock County Commissioners Court adopted a “Sanctuary County for the Unborn” ordinance on Monday, October 23, becoming the fourth county in Texas to do so. The measure passed unanimously, though two on the court abstained from the vote: Gilbert Flores (Pct. 3) and County Judge Curtis Parrish.

According to a report by Reuters, Parrish said he supported the intent of the ordinance, but added, "I continue to wonder what this ordinance is trying to legally accomplish.”

Like the ordinance adopted by Cochran County in September, the Lubbock County ordinance prohibits abortions, abortion-inducing drugs, and abortion trafficking within the unincorporated areas of the county. It also prohibits the remains of an aborted child from being transported into or disposed of within the county.

The City of Lubbock became a Sanctuary City for the Unborn in 2021 after citizens of Lubbock approved the measure with 62 percent of the votes cast.

Amarillo may be next among Texas cities to consider adopting a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance. The city council held a discussion about the possibility on Tuesday, October 24, allowing members of the public to weigh in.

While the city council did not take any official action at Tuesday’s meeting, it signaled an intention to follow up with work sessions to deal with any questions that council members have about the ordinance and tweak it to fit the situation in Amarillo.

Dozens of people made comments about the suggested ordinance.

Many of the speakers opposed it, using descriptions like “heavy-handed, extremist, and divisive” to describe the proposal. Nurse Lindsay London claimed the ordinance is redundant given the state’s Heartbeat Act and that it also presents a risk of litigation for the city.

However, Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative Director Mark Lee Dickson provided city council members with a letter signed by 20 state legislators supporting such ordinances. It reads in part, “During the 2021 Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature made it even more clear that cities and counties could pass ordinances outlawing abortion.”

“[W]e are thrilled to see this wave of pro-life action at the local level and hope to see the ordinances continue to spread across the state — even in a post-Roe era.”

Doug Albracht, a physician from Amarillo, spoke in favor of the proposal. He told the city council that he sees the ordinances as filling “a gap and loopholes” that are being used by the abortion industry.

Albracht pointed out that the majority of abortions are now conducted through the use of abortion-inducing drugs. Their availability was expanded by the Biden administration, including allowing them to be prescribed through telemedicine appointments.

A court case originating in a district court in Amarillo, which is challenging the Biden administration’s rules making abortion-inducing drugs more widely available, was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. In August, the 5th Circuit ruled that mifepristone prescriptions are now restricted to a seven-week window — down from the prior timeframe of 10 weeks — and will also require an in-person visit with a physician for a prescription. The Biden administration has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Jacob Meyer, who is president of the Amarillo-area Young Republicans, helped support the Lubbock measure when he was a student at Texas Tech University and also supports Amarillo’s proposed ordinance. He pointed out that the geographic location of the city along the Interstate 40 corridor makes it important to adopt the ban on abortion trafficking.

Albuquerque, New Mexico also sits along Interstate 40, and New Mexico has seen a 220 percent increase in abortions since 2020. Alamo Women’s Clinic, an abortion clinic in Albuquerque, advertises on social media to Texas teens, offering to cover the cost of an abortion and travel expenses.

“No [p]arental consent is needed in Albuquerque,” it adds.

Meyer doesn’t want to see Texas residents — mothers and unborn children — harmed by being taken to New Mexico for abortions.

Alex Deanda, Amarillo resident and founder of Conservatives of Texas Est. 2019, supports the measure. He said it was introduced two years ago but could not get any traction; however, he believes the recently elected council provides a better opportunity for its passage.

Deanda doesn’t see the ordinance as being particularly divisive. He sees the private enforcement aspect, similar to that found in the Heartbeat Act, as simply asking neighbors to help protect one another, including the unborn.

Amarillo City Council Member Les Simpson told the gathering that he believes the issue should be taken seriously, but that he has “more questions than answers” about the intended consequences of the proposal.

Council Member Josh Craft indicated he’d be most comfortable with letting voters decide the issue, as Lubbock did. However, Meyer questioned whether the Amarillo city charter allows such a method.

The most outspoken supporter of the sanctuary city ordinance was Council Member Don Tipps, who said he believes “abortion is murder” and that they need to “stand up for the baby’s rights.”

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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