Ellis County is now, officially, a safe space for guns, fetuses and conservatives.
This week, the Ellis County Commissioners Court voted 5-0 in favor of a resolution declaring itself a sanctuary city for the unborn, hopping on a bandwagon started by anti-choice activists last year in Waskom. In the succeeding months, the movement, led by a pastor named Mark Lee Dickson, has gained footholds in East and West Texas. Now it's found a willing host just south of Dallas.
"We've gotta do our job here that God's called us to do," Ellis County Judge Todd Little said Tuesday at the Ellis County Courthouse, explaining why he felt called to bring the resolution in front of the Court.
There's no ordinance yet — that's coming at a future date — but those passed in other municipalities have banned abortion within their borders, established penalties for doctors willing to perform the procedure where it is banned and declared that each of the Supreme Court decisions establishing a right to abortion was wrongly decided.
"Under our current laws, which I disagree with, the fact is that we're losing people, because a baby in the womb is a person," Commissioner Paul Perry said.
Perry and Little both stressed their personal connections to abortion as a reason for supporting the ordinance. Little had a roommate in college who "aborted his first son," he said, and Perry praised his ancestors who hypothetically chose to get married and carry a child to term or give the child up for adoption rather than get an abortion.
None of the 15 speakers addressing the court about the resolution spoke against it.
"We've been in fear long enough, we've been put into suppression long enough, and the people have spoken," Little said. "I don't think it's any surprise that we're discussing this issue today."
Ellis County's decision comes a little more than two months after it declared itself a "Second Amendment Sanctuary County." At the time, Perry said, according to a press release, that he wanted to show Ellis County residents “the importance of government officials to make it clear that they stand by the Constitution.”
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