The American Civil Liberties Union is suing seven Texas cities that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities for the unborn.”
The ACLU of Texas and ACLU National filed a Tuesday lawsuit challenging ordinances in seven East Texas cities on behalf of the Lilith Fund and Texas Equal Access Fund (TEA Fund), saying that the cities labeled these organizations “criminal entities.”
The lawsuit names the Texas cities of Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary and Wells.
BREAKING: We and @ACLU are suing several east TX cities over ordinances that bar abortion providers and advocates from operating within city limits. We’re proud to represent @TEAFund & @lilithfund against attacks on abortion access.
— ACLU of Texas (@ACLUTx) February 25, 2020
Towns across Texas began passing ordinances banning abortion in 2019, a move that spread across the state and has prompted 11 towns to declare themselves “sanctuary cities for the unborn,” the Texas Tribune reported.
The Waskom City Council started the trend in June 2019, outlawing abortion within the city and declaring Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups “criminal organizations.” (RELATED: Here’s What Texan Pro-Lifers Have To Say About Their ‘Sanctuary City For The Unborn’)
Abortions are not currently permitted in Texas after 20 weeks, but supporters of the pro-life movement fear stricter abortion laws right across the border in Louisiana will cause more women to come to Texas for the procedure, The Washington Post reported in June 2019.
“These ordinances are unconstitutional. 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,” ACLU of Texas staff attorney Anjali Salvador said in a statement Tuesday.
The ACLU noted in a Tuesday press release that both Lilith Fund and TEA Fund “support people who need abortions and advocate for the right to access abortion” and that the lawsuit alleges that the pro-life ordinances violate the pro-abortion groups’ rights to free expression and association.
“These anti-abortion ordinances are part of a nationwide attack on abortion access,” ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Deputy Director Brigitte Amiri said in a statement. “Whether they are bans on abortion, attempts to close clinics, or moves to silence people who support abortion access, the ACLU will fight against these unconstitutional and cruel measures.”
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