Last week, the city council of Lindale, Texas (pop. 6,730), became the 42nd city in Texas, and the 47th city in the nation, to pass an enforceable ordinance outlawing abortion within city limits. The unanimous 4-0 vote also made Lindale the first city whose council passed the measure in response to a successful citizen initiative petition.

The Lindale City Council rejected its citizens’ initial request to outlaw abortion in February 2020, passing a non-binding resolution that “condemned abortion” instead of passing an ordinance to actually “outlaw abortion.” At the time, the city attorney called the ordinance “unconstitutional,” “unenforceable,” and “poorly worded.” While the citizens in favor of the ordinance were disappointed, they were not defeated.

After seeing cities like Waskom (pop. 2,189) and Lubbock (pop. 264,000) survive lawsuits, Lindale resident Janna Moore was convinced that Lindale must revisit the issue. Believing the city council had not changed their decision, Moore decided it was time for the citizen initiative process allowed for by their city charter. Moore was assisted by a director with Right too Life of East Texas, signatures were collected and certified, and a hearing was called for March 24, 2022, at Picker’s Pavilion in Lindale, Texas.

The meeting lasted three and a half hours, as more than 500 in attendance came to see if the city council would pass the ordinance themselves or if the ordinance would go before the voters. In the end, the city council voted 4-0, outlawing abortion immediately in the city of Lindale.

The Lindale Ordinance Outlawing Abortion 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 Lindale, Texas,” and, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the city of Lindale, Texas.” Abortion is defined by the 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.”

The Lindale ordinance also declares abortion-inducing drugs to be contraband, stating, “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or distribute abortion-inducing drugs in the city of Lindale, Texas.” The ordinance defines abortion-inducing drugs as “mifepristone, misoprostol, and any drug or medication that is used to terminate the life of an unborn child.”

The vote made the city of Lindale the third city to outlaw abortion last week, following Shallowater (pop. 2,613) on Tuesday and Pollock, Louisiana, (pop. 473) on Wednesday. The vote also made Lindale the first city in Smith County to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion.

An overwhelming majority of those who vote in Smith County are conservative Republican voters whose beliefs and values do not line up with the Biden administration’s desire for abortion access in every zip code. In the 2020 presidential election in Smith County, the Republican candidate received 69.0 percent of the vote, while the Democrat candidate received 29.6 percent of the vote. During the 2018 Republican Party primary, voters in Smith County had the opportunity to vote on Proposition #7, which read, “I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.” Out of 22,594 votes, 17,190 voted in favor of outlawing abortion in Texas and 5,404 voted against outlawing abortion in Texas.

Most recently, during the 2022 Republican Party primary on March 1, voters in Smith County had the opportunity to vote on Proposition #5. This proposition gave voters the chance to vote “in favor” of or “against” this following statement: “Texas should enact a state constitutional amendment to defend the sanctity of innocent human life, created in the image of God, from fertilization until natural death.” In Smith County, out of 26,847 votes, 23,895 voted in favor of this proposition and only 2,952 voted against this proposition. That is a whopping 89 percent in favor of defending innocent human life from the point of conception until natural death!

Other cities in Smith County that could join Lindale in outlawing abortion include: New Chapel Hill (pop. 570), Winona (pop. 576), Noonday (pop. 777), Arp (pop. 911), Troup (pop. 2,130), Overton (pop. 2,554), Hideaway (pop. 3,986), Bullard (pop. 3,986), Whitehouse (pop. 9,460), and Tyler (pop. 109,000). Those interested in seeing abortion outlawed in their city are encouraged to sign the online petition on the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative website.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Mark Lee Dickson

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.

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