On Wednesday, the City of Marquez, Texas (population 313), became the 43rd city in Texas (and the 48th city in the United States) to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion. The passage of the measure also made Marquez the fourth city to have outlawed abortion in Leon County, following the cities of Centerville (pop.892), Leona (pop. 175}, and Jewett (pop.1,250).

The Marquez Ordinance Outlawing Abortion immediately outlaws abortion within the city limits, as it 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 Marquez, Texas,” and “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Marquez, 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 ordinance is clear that 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,” to “remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage,” or to “remove an ectopic pregnancy.” There is one other exception listed in the ordinance, and that is a very narrow exception for cases where the mother’s life is at risk. This is listed as an affirmative defense and falls upon the one performing the abortion to provide that defense if necessary. This is outlined by the ordinance as abortions in cases where the abortion is “in response to a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

Besides outlawing abortion, the Marquez ordinance immediately outlaws abortion-inducing drugs and declares them to be contraband. The Marquez ordinance states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or distribute abortion-inducing drugs in the City of Marquez, 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 ordinance is clear that the term “abortion-inducing drugs” does not include birth-control devices or oral contraceptives.

With the City of Marquez passing the ordinance, there are now only three cities in Leon County that could outlaw abortion: Buffalo (pop. 1,984), Normangee (pop. 778), and Oakwood (pop. 510). While it is uncertain how the three remaining city councils will vote, Leon County is very conservative, and the majority of its residents are pro-life Republicans who want to see abortion outlawed throughout the State of Texas.

During Leon County’s 2020 presidential election, 86.6 percent (7,523) voted Republican, 12.3 percent (1,072) voted Democrat, and 1.0 percent (90) voted for other candidates. During the 2022 Republican Party primary on March 1, voters in Leon County had the opportunity to vote on Proposition 5. This proposition gave voters the chance to vote “in favor” or “against” the 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 Leon County, out of 3,461 votes, 3,384 voted in favor of this proposition and only 77 voted against. That is a whopping 97.7 percent in favor of defending innocent human life from the point of conception until natural death.

Marquez is not expected to be the last city to hear from residents calling for the outlawing of abortion. Before April’s end, the mayors and city councils of Athens, Midlothian, and Abilene will hear from residents calling for their local elected officials to do their part in the war against abortion.

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.