A city known for being a haven for former President George W. Bush during his presidency has now become a haven for unborn children.

On Tuesday, the City of Crawford (population 733) became the 33rd city in Texas and the 36th in the nation to pass an enforceable ordinance outlawing abortion within its city limits. “Crawford is honored to stand up for the unborn to make sure that no babies are killed in our city limits by abortion,” Councilwoman Cindy Vannatta shared.

John Pisciotta, founder and director of Pro-Life Waco, was proud to see the ordinance pass just 20 miles west of his city. “With the unanimous Crawford City Council vote for a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, this great pro-life movement has arrived in greater Waco!” he exclaimed. “I commend the local leaders of Crawford and their city council members for standing boldly for babies in the womb and their moms. I hope and pray this is just the beginning of communities in Central Texas defending the precious little ones who cannot defend themselves.”

The effort to see abortion outlawed in Crawford started when local resident Dennis Daniel expressed interest. He reached out to Pisciotta, who connected him with the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative.

On June 8, Daniel spoke before his city council, saying of the nearby Planned Parenthood in Waco, “Planned Parenthood designed, built, and established a new facility and planted it right in the neighborhood where I grew up. This was in spite of the faithful leanings of the citizens.”

“Either the city council or city management failed to protect the community from this affront,” he continued. “Planned Parenthood kills over a thousand babies a year in the Waco facility. That is like approving the death of the entire Crawford community.”

“I am requesting that the city council consider and enact an ordinance which would declare Crawford a sanctuary city,” Daniel told council members. “With the recent influx of new residents into McLennan County, it may be only a matter of time before our faith-filled beliefs are challenged. The time to sit back and pray yet take little action is past.”

It was placed on the city council agenda for July, but was moved to August when the July meeting was cancelled. The ordinance was met with unanimous support by the mayor and city council.

The Crawford ordinance reads: “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 Crawford, Texas,” and, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Crawford, 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.” Crawford’s ordinance is clear the term does not include birth control devices or oral contraceptives, and the act is not an abortion if it is done with the intent to “save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child” or “remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage” or “remove an ectopic pregnancy.”

It also outlaws abortion-inducing drugs, defining them as “mifepristone, misoprostol, and any drug or medication that is used to terminate the life of an unborn child.” Not included are “birth-control devices or oral contraceptives,” nor are “Plan B, morning-after pills, or emergency contraception.” The term also does not include “drugs or medications that are processed or distributed for a purpose that does not include the termination of a pregnancy.”

Crawford is the first city to pass such an ordinance in McLennan County. During McLennan County’s 2020 presidential election, 60.8 percent voted Republican. During the 2018 Republican Party primary, McLennan County voters considered Proposition 7: “I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.” 66.05 percent voted for the proposition. Crawford will most likely not be the last city to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion.

The Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative reports interest continues to spread throughout Texas. Among them are cities like Lovelady (pop. 649), Brownsboro (pop. 1,036), Chandler (pop. 3,180), Plainview (22,343), and San Angelo (pop. 101,004).

If the City of Crawford faces a lawsuit as a result of the adoption of their ordinance, former Texas Solicitor General Jonathan F. Mitchell has agreed to represent them at no cost to the city and taxpayers.

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.