Grapeland, Texas, has become the 18th city to pass an enforceable ordinance outlawing abortion within their city limits. The vote took place on Monday, January 25, before a packed crowd at the Grapeland Event Center.

Among the faces in the crowd were the owners of Salmon Lake Park and their family members, Sheriff Randy Hargrove, Pastor Craig Vance from First Baptist Church of Grapeland, Dr. Vance Drum from Sunset Christian Church, Pastor Will Yates from the Cowboy Church of Houston County, and many other residents whose mothers had all chosen life.

Not one person in attendance who spoke up opposed the passing of the ordinance.

According to Mayor Mitchell Woody, Grapeland residents had approached him wanting to see abortion outlawed in the city. “It caught me off guard at first,” he said. “But I was elected as the mayor of Grapeland to listen to the people.” From there, Woody said he was put into contact with Right To Life of East Texas, where he heard about how 17 other cities throughout Texas had all passed similar ordinances.

Wanting to hear from some of the other mayors himself, Woody contacted Mayor Angela Raiborn of Rusk, which is located about 32 miles northeast of Grapeland and is the closest city to have outlawed abortion.

Next, Woody contacted Mayor Jesse Moore Waskom, over 120 miles northeast of Grapeland, which was the first city in the nation to outlaw abortion.

Last but not least, Woody contacted Mayor Shannon Thomason of Big Spring, over 415 miles west of Grapeland and the largest city to have outlawed abortion.

“Each one of them, all having passed the ordinance a year or more ago, has no regret for passing the ordinance,” Woody said. After talking to the three mayors, he ran the ordinance by Grapeland’s city attorney, who is said to have seen no problem with it.

The ordinance 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 Grapeland, Texas.


It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Grapeland.

The ordinance defines abortion 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.”

Referencing a letter signed by elected officials, Mayor Woody stated, “Senators and representatives throughout the State of Texas have said this is a preventative measure which cities can take to make sure that abortion does not legally take place within any of our city limits.”

“You may think it will never happen in your city, but there are lots of things in our cities which we thought would never be here,” he continued.

One argument for passing the Sanctuary City for the Unborn Ordinance was the fact that just three days before, on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris released a statement that committed to make sure everyone had access to abortion in every zip code.

Grapeland is the largest city, and the only incorporated city, within the 75844 zip code. Several of those in attendance at Monday’s meeting argued Grapeland should do their part to protect the part of their zip code they’re responsible for.

Since Grapeland passed the ordinance, more interest has sparked in several cities throughout the area, including Latexo, Centerville, Madisonville, and Lufkin.

For more information about the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, visit

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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.