The five-member, all-male city council of Waskom, Texas, unanimously voted this week to turn the town into a “sanctuary city for the unborn” by banning most abortions within its city limits. It’s reportedly the first Texas city to pass such a mandate.
The new ordinance declared Roe v. Wade and other laws allowing abortion “to be unconstitutional usurpations of judicial power,” KETK-TV reported. Exceptions were, however, included for rape, incest or serious risk to the mother’s life.
Waskom, which has a population of about 2,000 and is located at the Texas-Louisiana border, does not have any abortion providers within its city limits. Supporters of the ordinance said its passage was a preventative measure to ensure no abortion clinics open in the town.
Mark Lee Dickson, director of East Texas Right for Life, an organization that opposes abortion, said there were concerns that a restrictive new “heartbeat bill” passed in Louisiana ― one of many such state laws that have recently swept across the country ― could drive abortion providers across the border.
“We decided to take things into our own hands and that we have got to do something to protect our cities and to protect the unborn children,” Dickson told KETK.
Tuesday’s city council vote on the issue took place before “an abnormally packed house,” KTAL-TV reported.
Prior to the final vote, Mayor Jesse Moore warned those gathered that Waskom could be sued if the measure passed ― a lawsuit that the town could not afford to lose.
Residents told KTAL that they still supported the ordinance despite the threat of a lawsuit “because they say God will take care of them.”
When the council finally greenlit the measure, the station said the room erupted in cheers.