The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against seven towns in Texas after they declared themselves “sanctuary cities for the unborn.”
Such a declaration means those cities in the Lone Star State have enacted pro-life ordinances outlawing abortion within their city limits. There are no abortion clinics in any of the declared “sanctuary cities.”
The seven towns are Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary, and Wells.
A press release from the ACLU of Texas argues the pro-life ordinances include language that would make abortion illegal in the so-called “sanctuary cities” should the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade be overturned.
The lengthy complaint alleges that an ordinance like the ones currently in place in seven Texas towns “misleads residents of these cities as to whether individuals can in fact exercise their right to access abortion.”
In the lawsuit, which was filed by the ACLU on behalf of the pro-abortion groups the Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access Fund, the agency takes issue with the ordinances’ classification of pro-abortion groups as “criminal organizations,” given abortion is legal across the U.S., including in Texas.
“These ordinances are unconstitutional,” said Anjali Salvador, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Abortion is legal in every state and city in the country. Cities cannot punish pro-abortion organizations for carrying out their important work — especially when they do so in a way that violates the First Amendment.”
The seven towns in the ALCU’s lawsuit are among nearly a dozen towns in Texas that have voted to become “sanctuary cities for the unborn,” according to CNN. There are at least 13 other cities in Texas considering enacting such ordinances and three towns — Mineral Wells, Omaha, and Jacksboro — have voted against them.
In response to the suit, the pro-life group Texas Right to Life rebuked the ACLU for its “baseless” and “scattershot” complaint.
“Unsurprisingly, organizations that profit off the death of pre-born children are throwing a hodgepodge of complaints at the court and seeing what they can get to stick,” read a statement from the organization. “[T]his lawsuit is baseless, selectively targeting smaller cities that have passed the ordinance, and filed by abortion advocacy organizations that cover for the real culprit: abortion businesses, which are evidently unwilling to join the lawsuit themselves.”
Additionally, Mark Dickson, director of Right to Life East Texas, responded with a statement of his own, saying his group is “not intimated” and “will not be backing down.”
He went on to call the ACLU’s lawsuit “meritless” intended to “deter and intimidate cities from enacting these ordinances, which are entirely constitutional and consistent with the laws of Texas.”
“We invite any city which wants to outlaw abortion within their city limits to join us as we stand against the senseless slaughter of unborn children and do our part to make our cities safe from the baby murdering industry,” he wrote, adding, “In God we trust! In Christ we stand!”