On Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 the West Texas city of New Home passed an enforceable ordinance immediately outlawing the act of abortion within their city limits. The vote to outlaw abortion came after over an hour of discussion as the city council listened attentively to everyone who spoke in favor of the ordinance.
Pastor LJ Wright, pastor of New Home Baptist Church, led the charge. “Abortion is murder. Plain and simple.” said Pastor Wright. “From the moment of conception, life begins. God begins a creative work within the womb. Babies cry in the womb. Babies laugh in the womb. Babies smile in the womb. Babies hiccup in the womb. Babies bond with the mother in the womb. Babies are alive in the womb. Wombs should never be tombs.”
Pastor Wright shared how, last November, him and his wife suddenly and unexpectedly lost their 39 week old unborn child when they showed up for a doctor’s appointment only to find that their daughter was without a heartbeat.
Their loss of baby Wrenley caused them to contemplate just how precious life in the womb really is. When news broke about Planned Parenthood returning to the City of Lubbock, just 18 miles north of New Home, Pastor LJ Wright and his wife Tiffani did not want to just stand by and do nothing. “I cannot imagine someone intentionally ending a child’s life.” said Tiffani Wright. “At the stage Wrenley was at, or any stage. Children are a gift from the Lord, and we should view them as the precious gifts that they are.”
The couple decided to invite Mark Lee Dickson, a Director with Right to Life of East Texas and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, to their church on a Wednesday night to share about the effort to outlaw abortion in Lubbock and about the possibility of New Home passing a similar ordinance.
Movement behind the cause in New Home snowballed and in less than a week New Home’s city hall chambers were full of residents ready to see their City Council outlaw abortion within their city limits.
After Pastor LJ Wright gave his passionate plea to his city’s leaders, several others spoke in favor of the ordinance including Lubbock surgeon Dr. John Thomas, Joaquin City Councilman Mike Cummings, and Mark Lee Dickson. This was followed by pre-written statements from New Home residents presented to the City Council as well as several New Home residents sharing their thoughts both publicly and in person.
The New Home Ordinance states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the City of New Home, Texas.” In addition to this the ordinance also says, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of New Home, Texas.”
Abortion is defined by the New Home Ordinance 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.” According to the ordinance the term does not include birth control devices or oral contraceptives. The ordinance is also clear that the act is not an abortion if the act is done with the intent to “save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child, remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage, or remove an ectopic pregnancy.”
The New Home Ordinance contains both a public enforcement mechanism and a private enforcement mechanism. The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who aids and abets the abortionist for any abortion which takes place within the city limits of New Home. The ordinance states that the fines established by this section of the ordinance cannot be imposed unless Roe v. Wade is overturned or several other scenarios take place. The private enforcement mechanism, on the other hand, is not dependent upon Roe v. Wade being overturned or any other factor and is enforceable immediately. The private enforcement section of the New Home Ordinance states, “Any person, corporation, or entity that commits an unlawful act. . . other than the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted, shall be liable in tort to a surviving relative of the aborted unborn child, including the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings or half-siblings. The person or entity that committed the unlawful act shall be liable to each surviving relative of the aborted unborn child for: (a) Compensatory damages, including damages for emotional distress; (b) Punitive damages; and (c) Costs and attorneys’ fees.”
Section F-4 of the New Home Ordinance reads “Private enforcement . . . may be brought against any person, corporation, or entity that commits an unlawful act . . . upon the effective date of the ordinance, regardless of whether the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), and regardless of whether the current jurisprudence of the Supreme Court permits states and municipalities to punish those who violate abortion prohibitions.”
Shane Fiedler was one of the many New Home residents who spoke in support of the ordinance being passed in the New Home city council chambers. Fiedler said, “I think the vote is an important step for our families and students of New Home.” said Fiedler. “We are sending a message not just for today, but for 10, 20, 30 years in the future. We are taking a stand against abortion. It is time to call right right and wrong wrong.”
New Home is the 15th city in the nation to pass the ordinance outlawing abortion within their city limits.
Submitted by, Lee Richardson, a resident of Sundown, TX
Image credit https://thetexan.news