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ANSON, Texas (LifeSiteNews) — On Monday, the City of Anson became the 38th city in Texas and the 42nd nationwide to formally declare itself a “sanctuary for the unborn,” voting unanimously to forbid abortion within its borders.

Mark Lee Dickson, a pastor, Right to Life of East Texas, and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, wrote at Live Action to report the Anson City Council’s 5-0 vote to give final approval to the Anson Ordinance Outlawing Abortion, which declares it “unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy” or to “knowingly aid or abet an abortion” in Anson. It also bans “mifepristone, misoprostol, and any drug or medication that is used to terminate the life of an unborn child,” but does not apply to non-abortive contraception. 

The ordinance defines abortion as “the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.” It does not apply to procedures to “remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage,” to “remove an ectopic pregnancy,” or to save a mother from a “life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

Dickson explains that the ordinance contains both a public enforcement mechanism, which is “delayed and dependent upon other factors” such as future court rulings on abortion restrictions, and a private enforcement mechanism similar to that of the Texas Heartbeat Act that empowers residents to bring civil suits against violators. “This section is immediately enforceable and allows for anyone, including any relative of the unborn child, to sue the abortionist or anyone who aids and abets the abortionist for the death of the unborn child,” he says.

“My family has lived in Anson since there was an Anson … Some people may think it doesn’t matter what we do in a small town like Anson, but Texas is a grassroots state — we are more than just Houston and Dallas and San Antonio,” resident Curt Wood said during the city council meeting’s public comment period. “And America is a grassroots country — it’s more than just L.A. and New York and Chicago.” Wood continued, “If a grassroots movement can establish a pro-life culture in Texas, maybe it will inspire a grassroots movement for pro life across this country.”

Dickson notes that turnout for the meeting filled both the city council chamber and the hallway outside, plus even more supporters outside the building, “with none speaking against” the ordinance.

Dozens of other Texas localities have already declared themselves to be sanctuaries for the unborn, as have communities in Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, and North Carolina. Some are purely symbolic, while others have legal ramifications, such as one in Lubbock, Texas that forced Planned Parenthood to continue its pause on abortions despite a temporary injunction against the state heartbeat law. 

The ultimate fate of unborn sanctuary measures, as well as most other pro-life laws, may ultimately rest with the Supreme Court’s current review of the Texas Heartbeat Act or its upcoming review of Mississippi’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks.