Waskom makes amendments to abortion ban ordinance

Mark Lee Dickson Director of East Texas Right to Life addresses the Waskom City Council on Tuesday.

WASKOM — The Waskom City Council on Tuesday approved an amendment to its ordinance banning abortions.

Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right to Life of East Texas, said the amendments removed the exceptions of rape or incest that would have allowed abortions.

In support of Right to Life East Texas, the Waskom City Council in June unanimously approved the original ordinance banning abortion, becoming Texas’ first “sanctuary city for the unborn.”

However, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Feb. 25 against Waskom and six other cities that passed similar ordinances. The suit was file on behalf of the Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access Fund, both supporters of abortion.

Dickson said the amendments were made Tuesday not only in response to the lawsuit, but to make the ordinance even stronger.

“Now those exceptions have been removed,” Dickson said. “Now we can truly say all surgical and medical abortions have been outlawed in Waskom.”

Jonathan F. Mitchell has been retained to represent the defendants in the lawsuit, which also include Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Rusk, Gary and Wells. The former solicitor general of Texas, who has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, is representing the defendants at no cost to the cities or taxpayers.

“He’s that confident in what we’re doing here today,” Dickson said of Mitchell.

Dickson said both Right to Life of East Texas and Texas Right to Life stand behind every city that has outlawed abortion. He said the city of Whiteface is slated to consider a ban tonight.

“We are willing and prepared to go to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to defend these constitutional ordinances enacted to protect baby Texans from the baby murdering industry,” Dickson said.