Another Texas town that was hoping to become a safe haven for unborn babies has failed in its bid after a left-wing civil rights organization warned that agreeing council members would not be acting in line with the constitution.
Mineral Wells was hoping to become the second town to make such a declaration in as many months after Waskom, Texas, became a sanctuary city in June.
However, at a town meeting Tuesday, the ordinance was rejected by a vote of 5-2, after the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas sent a letter to Mineral Wells council members, issuing a warning that the proposal was unconstitutional.
Mineral Wells mayor Christopher Perricone hoped to enshrine the 15,000-strong town as a pro-life community by prohibiting clinics from performing abortions and criminalizing anyone who assisted in attaining a termination.
The small town, like Waskom, does not have a functioning abortion clinic.
“I think this is absolutely the right thing to do,” Perricone told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram of his plans, prior to the vote. “My beliefs as a Christian are that life begins at conception. Those lives are in need of help.”
“Our town could take a stand,” he added.
At the meeting last night, Perricone said that it was the council’s “duty to protect unborn lives.”
“Why are we in (office) if we are not going to deal with the tough issues before us?” he asked. “I believe it is our duty to protect those unborn lives.”
Much of the discussion amongst council members and indeed the public was over the potential litigation that would be brought against the town if it declared itself to be a sanctuary city of the unborn.
Many, however, argued that a lawsuit would be a necessary step required to protect the lives of babies.
“As to the passionate plea by one of the councilmen here today that this has the potential for litigation and expensive litigation – Is it not worth the investment to protect life?” Pastor Steven Broden, founder of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, asked the council members.
“When you have an opportunity to make a difference, as servant leaders, and you advocate and push back against that responsibility because it may cost some money – listen to me, Isn’t life worth the investment? Yes it is. Yes it is. And I would say to you men and women today, you have a stewardship responsibility to serve this community and there has been more voices in favor of this sanctuary possibility in favor of it than those who are against it.”
Mark Dickson of the Right to Life of East Texas told Faithwire that throughout the duration of the lengthy meeting, certain council officials tried to steer the agenda away from the subject of the town becoming a safe haven for the unborn.
“Councilwomen Regan Johnson and Beth Watson led the charge to depart from the Agenda’s order to move the discussion of the possibility of Mineral Wells, Texas becoming a sanctuary city for the unborn into an executive session prior to hearing public comments from the citizens of Mineral Wells,” he said.
Council vote was taken in private room
Bizarrely, despite the mayor’s protestations, the final vote was taken privately, away from the public gallery. Perricone and Councilman Jerrel Tomlin cast the two opposing votes.
Many in the chamber expressed their frustration at vote being taken away from the watching public.
“They went into executive session because they want to shut the mayor up,” Rhonda Wilkinson, a 61-year-old resident of Mineral Wells, told the Star-Telegram. “He’s an outsider and they are trying to bury him.”
During the course of the meeting, those gathered outside the building, which was full to capacity, were allowed to file in one-by-one to have their voices heard.
“Y’all are being courageous by bringing this bill forward,” one man declared. “It’s your right, your duty, to care.”