ACLU Sues 7 Texas ‘Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn,’ Calls Ordinances ‘Cruel’


Seven Texas towns that passed ordinances declaring themselves to be “sanctuary cities for the unborn” now are facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU’s national body and the ACLU of Texas filed a federal lawsuit in Texas Tuesday against seven small Texas towns – Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary and Wells – that passed pro-life ordinances declaring their jurisdictions “sanctuary cities for the unborn.” 

Although none of the towns have abortion clinics within their borders, the lawsuit takes aim at language within the ordinances that says “organizations that perform abortions and assist others in obtaining abortions are declared to be criminal organizations.” 

The ordinances mention Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access Fund – two pro-choice organizations – as criminal organizations. The ACLU is representing Lilith Fund and Texas Equal Access Fund.

In a press release, the ACLU called the ordinances “cruel.” 

“These ordinances are unconstitutional,” said Anjali Salvador, staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Abortion is legal in every state and city in the country, and cities cannot punish pro-abortion organizations for carrying out their important work – especially when they do so in a way that violates their First Amendment rights.”

The lawsuit says the ordinances “unconstitutionally punish” plaintiffs “through the legislative process, without a trial.”

“Further, by purporting to ban abortion, the ordinances create the impression that residents of Defendant cities can no longer exercise their right to an abortion,” the lawsuit says.

Texas Right to Life called the lawsuit “desperate” and expressed optimism the towns will win in court.

“These communities have shown great courage in standing up against the abortion industry,” Texas Right to Life said in a statement. “… Texas Right to Life looks forward to standing alongside these brave cities.” 

The ordinances were “carefully drafted in expectation of the abortion industry filing a lawsuit,” Texas Right to Life added. 

“This lawsuit is baseless, selectively targeting smaller cities that have passed the ordinance, and filed by abortion advocacy organizations that cover for the real culprit: abortion businesses, which are evidently unwilling to join the lawsuit themselves,” Texas Right to Life said.

Related:

9th U.S. Town Becomes ‘Sanctuary City for the Unborn’ 

Texas Town Becomes ‘Sanctuary City of the Unborn’

Photo courtesy: Steve Johnson/Pexels


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity TodayThe Christian PostThe Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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