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RICHLAND, Mississippi, November 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Preborn children are now one step closer to being safer in Mississippi as yet another city has declared itself a place where children are “safe” from abortion.

Pro-life Pastor Ryan Sullivan of Grace Community Church in Jackson, Mississippi and Les Riley, president of Personhood Mississippi, are part of a movement that has now successfully designated nine Mississippi cities as “safe” for the preborn. The latest and ninth city to be counted as a safe city is Richland.

A Safe City designation means an official resolution has been declared that recognizes the rights of pre-born humans and “the duty of the local jurisdiction to provide equal protection, from conception to natural death.”

The resolution lays out the “legal and moral foundations for why the city is choosing to become a Sanctuary for Life.” Pearl City was the first official Safe City in Mississippi and the resolution was signed by Mayor Jake Windham on October 1, 2019.

The declaration is issued in the first of a three-step strategy put forth by the Personhood Alliance to end abortion locally first. The second step lays the groundwork for future enforcement by educating, empowering and mobilizing the community and the churches.

Along with tangible support and resources for crisis pregnancies, the resolution also emphasizes training the community to anticipate and successfully navigate pushback. “At this point, you begin to protect local authorities and create a plan for mitigating any upcoming legal challenges.” That way, once the community is behind the initiative, the third step flows naturally from the first two. And it is to pass “local ordinances and statutes that prevent abortions from being performed and/or funded within the jurisdiction.”

This three-step strategy is truly a grassroots effort to change the culture. Pastor Sullivan told LifeSiteNews that “of course we want Roe v. Wade overturned. It is wicked and unjust on every level. But we can't wait around on the federal government. Since when do we need permission from the Supreme Court to protect babies from being murdered? We want to do what’s right in Mississippi.”

Cities in Iowa, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, and North Carolina have followed suit.

More than a dozen cities in Texas have been designated as Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn through the help of Texas Right to Life. The Texas campaign sounds similar to the Safe Cities initiative but should not be confused with it.

The Texas movement, which has also spread to many other cities across the nation, has already issued ordinances that differ from resolutions. Those ordinances offer legal protection to the unborn. An ordinance is a type of local regulation or law and carries a lot more legal weight than when a municipality simply enacts a resolution.

And they have not always been met with success. Many of the Texas cities at first faced lawsuits from the ACLU for their Sanctuary City ordinances, but these were dropped earlier this year. This week, Lubbock City Council voted unanimously against citizen efforts to declare the city a Sanctuary City for the Unborn. Texas Right to Life stated in a press release that the city council had decided not to move forward as a Sanctuary City in a meeting closed to the public, despite receiving more than 5,000 signatures in support of the measure. “Pro-Life Lubbockites will now move forward by bringing the Sanctuary City for the Unborn initiative to the ballot so the public can have their say during the next election.”

Correction Nov. 20, 2020: This report originally stated that “Many of the Texas cities are now facing lawsuits” whereas the lawsuits against the seven cities are now over. This report has now been corrected. LifeSiteNews regrets this error.