On Tuesday, February 15, the city council of Lindale, Texas (pop. 6,730), received the certification of the citizen initiative petition signatures and scheduled a hearing to consider the passage of an ordinance outlawing abortion within their city limits. The item was listed under the city’s regular agenda business as “[d]iscussion and possible action to receive findings of the initiative petition on Sanctuary City for the Unborn and set a time and date for a public hearing on the proposed ordinance initiative.”

The presentation was made by the city manager, and the public hearing was scheduled for March 24 at 6:00 p.m. at Picker’s Pavilion to accommodate the large crowd. The Picker’s Pavilion website describes the venue as “a destination for big-name concerts, community festivals, and event space rentals.” The city manager said that there would be no vote at the public hearing.

Lindale residents in favor of Lindale outlawing abortion gather for a group picture after Tuesday night’s council meeting.

According to Section 11.06 of the Lindale City Charter, “The Council shall take final action on the ordinance not later than sixty (60) days after the date on which such ordinance was submitted to the Council by the City Secretary.” This means that the city council of Lindale must take action on or before April 15, 2022. Currently, the only scheduled Lindale City Council meeting between the hearing date of March 24 and April 15 is Tuesday, April 5. This means that unless a special meeting is called or the Lindale City Council makes a decision on the night of the hearing (as was the choice of the Lubbock City Council), then April 5 is most likely when the Lindale City Council will take final action on the Lindale Ordinance Outlawing Abortion.

The Lindale City Charter states, “If the Council shall fail to pass an ordinance proposed by the initiative petition, or shall pass it in a form different from that set forth in the petition therefore … the proposed … ordinance shall be submitted to the voters on one of the uniform election dates as specified in the Texas Election Code, as amended, from the date the Council takes its final vote thereon.” This means that if the Lindale City Council fails to pass the ordinance, the ordinance will then go to a public vote on the November 8, 2022 election ballot. According to the Lindale City Charter, “If a majority of the voters voting on a proposed initiative ordinance shall vote in favor thereof, it shall thereupon be an ordinance of the city.”

While the City of Lubbock (pop. 264,000) took about two weeks after the certification of signatures to hold a hearing on their ordinance, the cities which are following in the footsteps of the largest Sanctuary City for the Unborn are taking much longer. The City of San Angelo (pop. 101,612) is taking over four weeks after certification to hold their hearing and Lindale (pop. 6,730) is taking six weeks after certification to hold their hearing.

A total of 44 cities throughout the United States have passed enforceable ordinances outlawing abortion within their city limits. Out of those 44 cities, 40 are in Texas. The most recent city to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion was the City of Jewett (pop. 1,250). The city council of Jewett, like 43 of the 44 cities that have outlawed abortion, passed their ordinance through a vote of their mayor and city council.

More cities are expected to consider outlawing abortion in the near future. Those who are interested in seeing abortion outlawed in their city are encouraged to sign Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn’s online petition.

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 and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative.