Texas Town Permanently Outlaws Abortion: Grapeland, Texas

On January 25, Grapeland, Texas, became the 17th city enforcing the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance. Grapeland, a city of 1,500 about 130 miles southeast of Dallas, outlawed abortion at a called meeting attended by about 75 people. No one in attendance spoke against the Pro-Life ordinance that makes abortion illegal within the city limits and imposes fines for abortionists who commit abortions in Grapeland. 

The Grapeland City Council voted to pass the ordinance outlawing abortion with a vote of four in favor and none opposing with one member abstaining. Mark Lee Dickson, the director of Right to Life East Texas, attended the meeting to explain the Sanctuary City for the Unborn movement. Dickson told the story of how he first began urging Texas cities to outlaw abortion. Dickson would pray and offer sidewalk counseling to mothers in crisis at the abortion mill in Shreveport, Louisiana, which was the abortion facility closest to his home in Longview, Texas. When the Shreveport abortion business considered shuttering and moving across the state border to Waskom, Texas, Dickinson began to think about what Texans could do to defend Life.

Dickinson said, “I started thinking about this idea that God cares about cities and what would happen if an abortion facility moved into Waskom. It’s not Austin’s problem. It’s not Washington DC’s problem. It would be the problem of Waskom. I started looking at that passage and saw there was a responsibility of cities to be a watchman and not allow things to come into the city gates that might harm the people. That was all I needed to know. I reached out to the mayor of Waskom and he said ‘what do I need to do?’ I said pass an ordinance outlawing abortion within the city limits. From there he said expedite the ordinance.”

Following Waskom, other Texas towns and cities have followed in outlawing abortion to save lives by preventing the abortion industry from ever getting a foothold in their communities. Despite widespread support, the Lubbock City Council voted against an ordinance outlawing abortion in November. Lubbock would have been the largest city to outlaw abortion in Texas and preborn lives are in imminent danger as the abortion industry has vowed to return to Lubbock.

In contrast to Lubbock which thwarted the desire of many committed Pro-Life citizens, Grapeland Mayor Mitchell Woody listened to his constituents in introducing the measure. He said, “We had residents in our community who approached me wanting to see abortion outlawed in our community. It caught me off guard at first, but I was elected as the mayor of Grapeland to listen to the people.”

To understand the ordinance, Woody spoke with the mayors of three other Texas cities that have outlawed abortion. He said, “Each one of them, all having passed the ordinance a year or more ago, have no regret for passing the ordinance.” Woody added, “Our city attorney also looked at the ordinance and saw no problem with it. This is an ordinance which is backed by attorneys across the state of Texas and has the support of many of our state senators and representatives.”

“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,” the mayor said. “Our city councils have a choice to make and I expect that we will probably be seeing many more cities make the choice to outlaw abortion.”

Grapeland’s 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.” According to reports, former Solicitor General of Texas, Jonathan F. Mitchell, has offered to provide legal aid to the city if issues ever arise with the ordinance.  

Some of the first Texas towns that passed an ordinance banning abortion were sued by abortion groups in a frivolous suit seeking to intimidate and silence them. The abortion groups later dropped the suit, but the abortion businesses were not done. Anti-Life activists then resorted to personal attacks with a defamation lawsuit against Dickson and other Pro-Life advocates. Far from intimidated, the Pro-Life groups stood by the Pro-Life ordinances and filed a countersuit against the abortion industry to restore their good name.

Texas Right to Life congratulates Grapeland on becoming the latest Texas city to stand for Life.



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