16th City in the Nation to Outlaw Abortion Within City Limits
By Mark Lee Dickson
On Monday, October 12th, 2020, the West Texas city of Morton passed an enforceable ordinance immediately outlawing the act of abortion within their city limits. The unanimous vote by the City Council was viewed as a definitive victory by residents in Morton, Texas.
Paul Zapata was one of the residents who spoke before the council before their vote. Zapata has been a longtime resident of the city of Morton and currently serves as the Vice President of the Morton Independent School District’s School Board. “As Christians, we are called to take a stand for our beliefs, no matter the consequences.” shared Zapata. “I believe, wholeheartedly, that there will come a day when we stand before our Lord and answer for the things we did and didn’t do. Today, this community of believers drew a line in the sand and committed to protecting the innocent babies of this community for generations to come.”
Morton Elementary School Principal Rina Ramos stood in agreement with Zapata. “As a principal, when I see the face of those kids as they come into the school, I see the hope for our future. Every child is a gift and has a destiny that only they can fulfill. My job is to protect them and help them discover that destiny.” Ramos continued,” The thought that any life would be unfulfilled . . . that hope for the future would be destroyed . . . No. We have to draw a line in the sand and choose life. Jesus said, “I set before you life and death, choose life.” If we are to protect our hope, protect our future, then we must protect our kids. We must choose life.”
The Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance for the city of Morton 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 Morton, Texas,” Morton’s ordinance also states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Morton, Texas.” Abortion, as defined in the ordinance, is “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 Local Government Code 51.012 in regards to general law cities, “The municipality may adopt an ordinance, act, law, or regulation, not inconsistent with state law, that is necessary for the government, interest, welfare, or good order of the municipality as a body politic.” The Pre-Roe Texas abortion statutes which criminalize abortion and impose criminal liability on those who aid and abet abortions were not repealed by Roe v. Wade, have never been repealed by the legislature, and have not been determined by Texas state court to be repealed by implication. Because of this, the Pre-Roe Texas abortion statutes continue to exist as the laws of the State of Texas until the state legislature or the state courts determine otherwise.
Before the vote on Monday, Mayor Kim Silhan delivered a moving speech before the city council and the city of Morton. “I believe that we are all created by God that no one has the right to take a life. That life begins at conception. There are court opinions saying it is legal to have an abortion, Roe v Wade for example. I also read in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, that we are all entitled to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Is life less important today than it was in 1776? If a pregnant woman is murdered, the killer is charged with double homicide, as in the case of Lacy Peterson and many others.
Mayor Kim Silhan continued, “Life begins at conception, period. Science backs up my beliefs, and aren’t we preached to daily by the media to listen to the science? Most importantly, my Father and his Holy Word back me up. In Exodus 20:13, it says, “Thou shalt not murder” It’s not excusable to stay silent and not speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Councilman Buckie Dobson gave an equally powerful speech before the mayor, his fellow council members, and the city of Morton. “My faith in God has led me to believe that life is the most important thing we have and that we should protect our children, especially the children that can’t speak for themselves.” Councilman Dobson continued, “We are staking the ground here right now. That we will not stand for something like this to come into our community, we are putting a barrier, a fence around our town here, saying, this will not happen in Morton. We will stand up for the kids in this town. We will stand up so they can grow up and become adults and become future leaders of this town, this state, and of this nation.”
Morton business owner Scotty Simpson was thankful for the unanimous 4-0 vote by the city council. “We are so very proud of our mayor and city council for the passing of an ordinance to protect the unborn. We believe God will bless our community, in every way, anytime we take a stand against the evil that has invaded our country.”
The City of Morton will, most certainly, not be the last city to outlaw abortion. On Tuesday, October 13th, the citizens of Lubbock, Texas (Population 278,831) filed 5,695 petition signatures with the City of Lubbock; 5,070 of which were personally verified by a verification team consisting of members from West Texas For Life, Right to Life of East Texas, Pro-Life Waco, Young Conservatives at Texas Tech, and Raiders Defending Life at Texas Tech. The number of signatures they needed to “force the vote” was 3,651 verified signatures. Under rules of the City Charter of Lubbock, as long as 3,651 of the 5,695 signatures which were filed are found to be valid by the City of Lubbock, the City Council will have to vote on the proposed ordinance. If the City of Lubbock votes down the ordinance, the ordinance will be placed on the ballot in a special election, and it will be set for a vote of the citizens of Lubbock, Texas.
For more information about the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, visit www.sanctuarycitiesfortheunborn.com
Mark Lee Dickson is a Director with Right to Life of East Texas, a Pastor of SovereignLOVE Church in Longview, Texas, and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative.