A tiny Nebraska village has become the 24th U.S. town to approve an ordinance declaring itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” outlawing abortion as well as abortion-inducing drugs within its municipal limits.
The Hayes Center Board of Trustees voted 5-0 last week to pass an ordinance “declaring Hayes Center a sanctuary for the unborn,” making the town of 288 residents the first outside of Texas to adopt such a measure.
“I’m really proud to be a member of the Hayes Center Village Board and to get the opportunity to put an ordinance like this in place,” said trustee Alicia Richards in a statement. “I think we will be the first town of many in Nebraska to take this important step towards protecting our unborn.”
The rural community has no abortion clinic, but trustee Sarah Rosno defended the April 6 vote.
“I’m sure there will be people who think this was an unnecessary action for us to take, especially when there isn’t a clinic around here,” Ms. Rosno said in a statement. “I truly believe that this step was a good way to preserve our way of life out here. We can’t and won’t be swayed by the government’s views or beliefs on the importance of a human life.”
Mark Lee Dickson, founder of the “sanctuary city for the unborn” initiative, said the Biden administration’s pro-choice push has fueled the movement’s urgency.
“Earlier this year Biden administration committed to abortion access in every ZIP code in America,” said Mr. Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas. “This is causing citizens throughout the United States to wake up and ask the uncomfortable question, ‘Is where I live safe from the expansion of the abortion industry?’”
He referred to a Jan. 22 statement by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
“We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care — including reproductive health care — regardless of income, race, ZIP code, health insurance status, or immigration status,” said the White House statement.
Mr. Dickson said that the Hayes Center trustees “wanted to do their part to make sure that their village was safe from the fulfillment of Biden and Kamala’s commitment. That is why they outlawed abortion within their city limits.”
Hayes Center, the county seat of Hayes County, is the only incorporated city in the 69032 ZIP code, according to the Hayes Center Times-Republican.
“Not one person spoke in opposition of the ordinance at the public meeting,” said the Times-Republican.
Communities in other states have passed sanctuary resolutions, but only in Texas and Nebraska have officials approved ordinances, Mr. Dickson said.
In November, voters in Santa Rosa County, Florida, approved by 57%-43% a “pro-life sanctuary” resolution on the ballot, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed and then dropped a lawsuit last year against seven East Texas cities with sanctuary ordinances, but pro-choice groups in June sued Mr. Dickson and Right to Life East Texas for defamation.
Violations of the Hayes Center ordinance, which went into effect immediately, are subject to a $500 fine.