On Monday, Cisco (population 3,913), located about 45 miles east of Abilene, became the latest Texas city to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion within their city limits.

The vote was 5-0, with one council member abstaining. “I am proud to be part of a great community who is willing to stand up for the right to life,” Councilman Travis Toof said. “The overwhelming support from our community to speak for and support this cause is truly a blessing.”

The Cisco Ordinance Outlawing Abortion took two readings by the city council in order to take full effect. At both meetings, the council chambers were full of residents supporting the measure.

Ruth York, a Cisco resident and chairwoman with the Texas Family Defense Committee, led the charge in making sure residents were well informed about the ordinance.

“The City of Cisco has several claims to fame. We are famous for being the birthplace of the Hilton Hotel chain and the Santa Bank Robbery,” York said. “Tonight, we are able to add to that list the historic reality of becoming the 40th city in America to outlaw abortion.”

At the second and final reading on Tuesday night, Councilman Stephen Forester said, “As a pastor in Cisco for almost 17 years, I am proud of the attendance today in support of life. I believe the Word of God teaches us that God values life—all life, any race, and any age. It is good to see Christians stand up for a cause.”

“I would hope that when another issue of morality or of spiritual significance is presented to this council, that the same number or more of the Christians in our community would make their voices known in support of God’s Word and His principles!” he continued. “We must take a stand against evil in our day!”

The vote made Cisco the 37th city in Texas, and 40th in the nation, to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion within their city limits. The vote also made Cisco the fourth city to do so in Eastland County; the other three are Carbon (population 348), Gorman (population 1,083), and Eastland (population 3,970). Rising Star (population 835) is the only city in Eastland County that has refused. The only city that has yet to vote on this in Eastland County is Ranger (population 2,469).

The majority of Eastland County’s voting population is made up of conservative Republicans. During the 2020 presidential election, 87.24 percent voted Republican, 11.87 percent voted Democrat, and 0.89 percent voted for other candidates. In the 2016 presidential election, 86.3 percent voted Republican, 11.1 percent voted Democrat, and 2.5 percent voted for other candidates.

The Cisco 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 Cisco, Texas,” and, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Cisco, 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 Cisco ordinance also outlaws abortion-inducing drugs and declares them to be contraband. It 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.

Like the other Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn ordinances, the Cisco ordinance is enforceable. It contains two major enforcement mechanisms: the public enforcement mechanism and the private enforcement mechanism.

The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who aids and abets him for any abortion that takes place within the Cisco city limits. This is the only section of the ordinance where enforceability is not immediate, but dependent upon other factors. The ordinance is clear these fines cannot be imposed unless one of three possibilities occur:

  • If it is determined by a state or federal court that the individual seeking to impose the penalty upon the one who committed the unlawful act will not create an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.
  • If a state or federal court determines the person, corporation, or entity who committed the unlawful act of abortion lacks standing to assert the third-party rights of women seeking abortions in court.
  • If the U.S. Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Unlike the public enforcement mechanism, the private enforcement mechanism is immediately enforceable. The private enforcement mechanism allows for anyone to file a lawsuit against the abortionist, or anyone who knowingly aids or abets the abortionist, for the death of any unborn child who is killed in the city limits of Cisco, Texas.

Cisco was not the only city to consider outlawing abortion this week. Mason, Ohio (population 34,450), voted to move forward outlawing abortion in a vote of 4-2 on Monday, followed by Curtis, Nebraska (population 905), in a vote of 3-0 on Wednesday with 1 council member abstaining. Like the city of Cisco, both Mason and Curtis will have to have at least one more reading of their ordinances in order for their law outlawing abortion to go into effect.

On January 22, 2021 (the anniversary of Roe v. Wade), President Biden and Vice President Harris, stated their commitment to make sure everyone has abortion access in every zip code. Since then, a total of 23 cities across the United States have passed ordinances outlawing abortion.

Those who wish to see their city become a Sanctuary City for the Unborn by outlawing abortion within their city limits are encouraged to begin the process by signing the online petition at www.sanctuarycitiesfortheunborn.com/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.