On the morning of Thursday, March 3, the city council of Plainview (pop. 22,343) received the certification of the citizen initiative petition signatures. In accordance with Section 10.06 of the Plainview City Charter, the city council was obligated to “promptly consider the proposed initiative ordinance in the manner prescribed for enacting ordinances.” The Plainview Ordinance Outlawing Abortion is now set for a first reading on Tuesday, March 8.

According to Section 10.06 of the Plainview City Charter, the city council has 60 days to make one of two choices for an ordinance prompted by a citizen initiative. The Plainview City Charter states the city council shall either “adopt a proposed initiative ordinance without any change in substance” or “call an election on the proposed . . . ordinance.”

If the city council chooses to adopt the Plainview Ordinance Outlawing Abortion on its first reading, the ordinance will move on to a second and final reading a future date, which is likely to be Tuesday, March 22, 2022. If the city council adopts the ordinance at its second reading, the ordinance will go into effect immediately.

After the certification of their signatures, the City of Plainview (pop. 22,343) scheduled their consideration of the ordinance just five days later, less than half of the amount of time that the City of Lubbock (pop. 264,000) took to schedule a hearing after the certification of their signatures. This has been a breath of fresh air for many Plainview residents, as other cities have taken much longer in the process. San Angelo (pop. 101,612) took four weeks after certification to hold their hearing, and Lindale (pop. 6,730) is taking six weeks after certification to hold their hearing.

Plainview is the largest city in Hale County. An overwhelming majority of those who vote in Hale 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.

During Hale County’s 2020 presidential election, 74.9 percent (7,177) voted Republican, 23.8 percent (2,279) voted Democrat, and 1.4 percent (130) voted for other candidates. In the 2016 presidential election, 71.9 percent (6,366) voted Republican, 23.7 (2,101) voted Democrat, and 4.4 percent (391) voted for other candidates. During the 2018 Republican Party primary, voters had the opportunity to vote on Proposition 7. This proposition gave voters the chance to voice their opinion if they were “in favor” of or “against” this following statement: ” I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.” In Hale County, out of 3,177 votes, 2,493 voted in favor of the idea of abolishing abortion in the state of Texas, and 684 voted against the idea of abolishing abortion in the state of Texas.

During the 2022 Republican Party primary on March 1, voters in Hale County had the opportunity vote on Proposition 5. This proposition gave voters the chance to say whether they were “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 Hale County, out of 2,257 votes, 2,100 voted in favor of this proposition and only 157 voted against this proposition. That is a whopping 93 percent in favor of defending innocent human life from the point of conception until natural death.

This number also aligns with one of the official planks of the Republican Party of Texas 2020 platform, which states, “We support the right of Texas municipalities to protect mothers and pre-born children in their communities by passing enforceable city ordinances that ban abortions and abortion industry businesses within their city limits.” Just over 92 percent of Republican Party of Texas delegates voted in favor of this plank being added to the Republican Party of Texas 2020 platform.

If the Plainview City Council does not vote to adopt the ordinance, it is highly likely that the residents of Plainview will adopt the ordinance at the ballot in November. Regardless of their decision, they will not likely be the last city to consider the ordinance in the area.

The first city in Hale County to pass the ordinance was the City of Abernathy (pop. 2,839), which passed their ordinance on May 10, 2021. The vote of the city council of Abernathy made the city the 27th city in the United States and the 25th city in Texas to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion within their city limits. Other cities in the county that could consider a similar ordinance in the future include Edmonson (pop. 101), Petersburg (pop. 1,262), and Hale Center (pop. 2,267).

The most recent city to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion was the City of Jewett (pop. 1,250) located in Leon County in East Texas. 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.

Those who are interested in seeing abortion outlawed in their city are encouraged to sign the online petition found on the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn 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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