Pro-life North Texans have declared the state’s first sanctuary county for the unborn.

Ellis County commissioners voted unanimously last week to adopt a resolution urging citizens to “promote and defend the unalienable right to life and the inherent dignity of all human beings,” including the preborn:

“Ellis County Commissioners’ Court hereby recognizes and declares the full humanity of the preborn child and declares Ellis County to be a sanctuary for the preborn where the dignity of every human being will be defended and promoted from conception or fertilization through all stages of development.”

“It’s time for Ellis County to take a stand for these precious babies and become a sanctuary for the unborn,” Waxahachie resident Sylvia Coulson told commissioners during their January 28 meeting. Coulson was among over a dozen speakers on the issue, all in favor of the pro-life measure.

“I was proud and humbled to speak for this action today,” Coulson said after the vote to approve the resolution. “We are the first county in Texas to take this step.” She said the county judge received 250 letters of support.

“Protecting the babies is the first reason I am involved in politics,” she told Texas Scorecard. “It is unbelievable that this is a political issue.”

Coulson noted the resolution is only a statement of local officials’ and residents’ respect for the sanctity of life and applies just to areas of the county outside of cities. But the resolution states the commissioners court will introduce an ordinance to enforce its intent “by any means within its power.”

Grassroots conservative activist Kathy Ponce told Texas Scorecard she looks forward to working with her county representatives to make the resolution into an ordinance in the very near future.

“I am honored to be associated not only with a county judge who stands for life by initiating this resolution but also with the four other county commissioners who voted in favor of Ellis County becoming a sanctuary county for the unborn,” Ponce said.

The Waxahachie Daily Light reported County Judge Todd Little brought the resolution to the court in response to pro-life legislation passed in Austin last year. Senate Bill 22, which took effect in September 2019, prohibits local governments from using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion providers or their affiliates.

After adopting the sanctuary resolution, commissioners considered a contract with a local pregnancy and sexual health clinic that does not perform abortions or provide abortion referrals.

“Oftentimes, elected officials will campaign on being pro-life but don’t always truly stand for life when it is time to take the vote on what many may consider to be a ‘controversial’ topic to be discussed at the county level,” Ponce added. “My commissioners took that stand and recorded their vote for all to see.”

“Protecting the unborn is something we hold dear to our hearts in Texas, and I am thrilled that Ellis County is the first county in Texas to become a sanctuary for life,” said Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, whose 6th Congressional District includes Ellis County. “I applaud the Commissioners’ Court for being a voice for the voiceless and passing this monumental resolution.”

In addition to Ellis County, 10 Texas towns have declared themselves sanctuary cities for the unborn since June 2019, and more local governments are considering similar pro-life initiatives.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.