Featured Image
Midlothian City HallFacebook / City of Midlothian, Texas

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this guest post are solely those of the guest author.

(Live Action) — On Tuesday, February 27, the City Council of Midlothian, Texas (pop. 38,635), located about 30 minutes from Fort Worth, passed an “Ordinance Outlawing Abortion, Declaring Midlothian a Sanctuary City for the Unborn” in a 5-2 vote.

Voting in favor of the ordinance were Mayor Justin Coffman and Council members Mike Rodgers, Anna Hammonds, Ed Gardner, and Hud Hartson. Council members Allen Moorman and Clark Wickliffe voted against the measure.

The vote made the City of Midlothian the 51st city in the state of Texas, the 68th city in the nation, and the 75th political subdivision in the nation to pass an enforceable ordinance prohibiting abortion.

Mayor Justin Coffman shared, “I am proud to be a part of passing an ordinance in the city of Midlothian to become a sanctuary city for the unborn. I believe in affirming life and protecting the health and well-being of our current and future citizens from the womb to the tomb.”

The path to victory for Midlothian did not happen overnight. The process began in November 2021, when Midlothian resident Hugh Reynolds began working with Ashley Leenerts from Texas Right To Life. Six months later, on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, an ordinance was brought before the City of Midlothian. At that meeting, representatives from both Texas Right To Life and Right To Life of East Texas (the organization which has spearheaded the initiative across the state and the nation) addressed the city council and answered the council’s questions regarding the proposed ordinance.

READ: One of the world’s best pro-life apologists had a baby, and it changed her life

During that meeting, then-Mayor Richard Reno said the ordinance “goes beyond stopping abortions and into the lives of our people,” and expressed his desire to put the ordinance before the community in a citywide election. Knowing that the ordinance would be killed if a motion was made to adopt the measure, then-Councilman Justin Coffman moved to table consideration of the proposed ordinance, requesting for then-Mayor Richard Reno to form a committee to address the issue. Council member Hud Hartson seconded the motion, which passed in a unanimous vote of 7-0.

On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the discussion moved forward. In a 5-2 vote, the city council passed a resolution forming a committee to review the ordinance and bring the ordinance back to the city council. At the time, Council members Ted Miller and Clark Wickliffe were the only two council members who voted in opposition to the measure. On that committee was then-Mayor Richard Reno, then-Councilman Justin Coffman, Dan Altman, Karena Blackwell, Lisa Taylor-Cook, Joan Davis, Jamie McNulty, Wayne Shuffield, Betty Tryon, and Greg Wilhelm. The committee met several times, working through what many of them believed was going to be an ordinance that would be adopted by their city council.

On September 27, 2022, committee member Dan Altman shared the committee’s recommendation to pass the proposed ordinance. After much discussion back and forth, the Midlothian City Council voted 4-3 against passage of the proposed ordinance. Voting against the ordinance at that time was then-Mayor Richard Reno, then-Councilman Wayne Sibley, then-Councilman Walter Barrack, and Councilman Clark Wickliffe. Voting in favor of the ordinance was Councilwoman Anna Hammonds, then-Councilman Justin Coffman, and Councilman Hud Hartson.

Having seen their mayor and the majority of their city council not stand for life, the citizens of Midlothian had enough. An election came and went and, before too long, Midlothian had a new makeup of their city council. The loudest voice in favor of the ordinance, then-Councilman Justin Coffman was now the Mayor of Midlothian, Texas. All of those who had voted against the ordinance in the past, with the exception of one councilman, were no longer in office.

At Tuesday’s meeting, newly elected Councilman Ed Gardner led the charge with committee member Dan Altman and a director from Right to Life of East Texas fielding questions from the mayor and city council regarding the proposed ordinance. While Councilmembers Allen Moorman and Clark Wickliffe attempted to add amendments to weaken the already bare-bones ordinance, their efforts failed and the ordinance was passed as-is.

The Midlothian Ordinance prohibits abortion and the aiding or abetting of an abortion within the city limits of Midlothian at the local level, extending the private enforcement mechanism found in the Texas Heartbeat Act from the point of a detectable heartbeat to the point of conception.

In addition to this, the Midlothian ordinance also prohibits the possession and distribution of abortion-inducing drugs within the city limits of Midlothian, allowing private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone in violation of this provision except for the mother of the unborn child. And lastly, the Midlothian Ordinance allows for anyone in Midlothian to file a lawsuit against anyone knowingly aiding or abetting an abortion performed in violation of any statute enacted by the Texas legislature.

READ: Pro-lifers to strategize at major retreat in Florida with Fr. Orsi next month

This would include offering or knowingly providing transportation to or from an abortion provider, giving instructions over the telephone, the internet, an interactive computer service, or any other medium of communication regarding self-administered abortion or means of obtaining elective abortions, offering or providing money, digital currency, or other resources with the knowledge that it will be used to pay for, offset, or reimburse the costs of an elective abortion or the costs associated with procuring an elective abortion, offering or providing “abortion doula” services, providing referrals to an abortion provider; coercing or pressuring a pregnant mother to have an abortion, and engaging in any conduct that makes one an accomplice to abortion under section 7.02 of the Texas Penal Code.

While the current ordinance does not prohibit the shipping of abortion-inducing drugs into the city of Midlothian or the abortion trafficking of Midlothian residents into other states, Councilman Ed Gardner expressed that he would not be opposed to bringing amendments in the future to make the current ordinance stronger. Another provision absent from the Midlothian ordinance is a provision that would prohibit any person to transport the remains of an unborn child who was killed by an elective abortion from any abortion provider outside of the state of Texas through or into the City of Midlothian or to dispose of such remains within the city limits of the City of Midlothian.

Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell has agreed to represent the City of Midlothian at no cost to the city or taxpayers for any litigation that may arise from the passage of their Sanctuary City for the Unborn Ordinance. Those interested in seeing their city pass an enforceable ordinance prohibiting abortion are encouraged to sign the online petition from the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action.