Abortion has now been outlawed in Murchison, Texas.

The unanimous vote came on the night of Tuesday, March 9, making Murchison—located 30 miles southwest of the city of Tyler and 80 miles southeast of the city of Dallas—the 22nd city in the nation to pass the enforceable ordinance.

Murchison is one of 20 incorporated cities in Henderson County. An overwhelming majority of those who vote in Henderson County are conservative Republican voters. In the 2020 presidential election, 79.6 percent (28,911) voted Republican, 19.4 percent (7,060) voted Democrat, and 1 percent (345) voted for other candidates.

In the 2018 Republican Party primary election, Henderson County voters had the opportunity to vote for or against the following proposition: “I believe abortion should be abolished in the State of Texas.”

Out of 10,028 votes, a total of 7,183 voted in favor of the statement, while 2,845 voted against.

This means a majority of Henderson County voters are in favor of outlawing abortion in Texas. Because of these numbers, it was not a surprise to see a crowd gathered at the Murchison City Hall.

Lynne Littrell was one of many Murchison residents supporting her city.

“Abortion is murder. It goes against what God says,” she shared. “The unborn cannot protect themselves. They were made in God’s image and have the unalienable right to life that was endowed to them by their Creator.”

Representatives from both Right to Life of East Texas and Texas Right to Life were in attendance to support the residents of Murchison during the historic occasion.

Noah Pennington with Texas Right To Life, who is based out of the organization’s Irving office, drove in to take part in the initiative.

“Up until recent history, the United States Constitution was interpreted as, ‘You have equal rights unless you are black or unless you are Native American,’” he shared. “Here we are again with the same argument. Are you a person or are you not? Are you protected under the United States Constitution? And do you, as the government, have an obligation to protect those who rightfully deserve to be protected under the constitution of the United States?”

Pennington continued, “I was born in South Korea. Up until the last few years, South Korea had some of the strictest abortion laws in the world. When I was born, they could not have a sonogram to see if there was something wrong with me. And when I was born, it was quite shocking to them.”

“Thankfully for me, they could not abort me. Thankfully, there was a loving family in New Braunfels, Texas, that said, ‘We want to take care of somebody that everyone else sees as worthless, not having the same rights as any other human being.’” Pennington concluded, “You have an opportunity not just to outlaw abortion, but to have a ripple effect throughout the rest of Texas. This is a historic moment, and you have a chance to turn the tide in the war we have been fighting since 1973.”

When it came time for a vote on the agenda item, Mayor Bryan Wilkins asked the city council if there was a motion. Councilman Ken Baker made the motion to pass the ordinance, followed by Councilwoman Alisa Griffis seconding the motion to outlaw abortion within the city limits.

The vote was unanimous and met with loud applause from the packed city council chambers.

After the vote, Councilwoman Griffis shared that the value of human life was one of the reasons why her family relocated from California to Texas.

“We escaped California as political refugees so that we could come to Texas and be at a place where there is freedom and safety for our children,” she said. With tears in her eyes, Councilwoman Griffis continued, “Every single child is worth life. Every child.”

Mayor Wilkins was in full agreement with the city council’s stand for life. “The City of Murchison was founded on conservative principles. Tonight, the people spoke that every life matters.”

The Murchison 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 Murchison, Texas.


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

Abortion is defined in the Murchison 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 term does not include birth-control devices or oral contraceptives.”

According to the ordinance, an 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; remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage; or remove an ectopic pregnancy.”

Without a doubt, the majority of Murchison residents are grateful for the outcome of Tuesday night’s vote. Local resident Yancy Miller said, “I am very proud of our city council. I am very proud that they would stand up for what’s right.”

While the City of Murchison was the first city to outlaw abortion in Henderson County, they are not expected to be the last.

For more information about the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, visit www.sanctuarycitiesfortheunborn.com.

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.