by Mark Lee Dickson
President Donald J. Trump started 2023 with a post on Truth Social which drew the ire of many in the pro-life community. Trump wrote, “It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations . . . It was the “abortion issue,” poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on No Exceptions, even in the case of Rape, Incest, or Life of the Mother, that lost large numbers of Voters.” Trump went on to say, “Also, the people that pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion, got their wish from the U.S. Supreme Court, & just plain disappeared, not to be seen again.”
While I agree with President Trump that the “abortion issue” was poorly handled by many Republicans during last year’s midterms, I do not see the problem being the “no exceptions” stance held by many in the Republican community. People across America are waking up to the reality that every single human being, regardless of how they were conceived, have the right to life. We are seeing this across America as more and more abortion bans are being passed with no exceptions. This is the return of a fair standard in America, the fair standard of everyone having the right to life. While President Trump has been right about many things, I believe he has never been more wrong to equate the problems with the midterms with Republican candidates who were against exceptions for abortion.
With that being said, President Trump was right to criticize those who pushed hard for decades to see Roe v. Wade overturned, but have since disappeared from the fight. This fight is far from over. Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, we have an even greater reason to push for abortion bans at the city, county, state, and national level. Since Roe v. Wade has been overturned, the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative has been pushing for abortion bans at the local level in places like New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, and Minnesota, in addition to continuing to push for local abortion bans in Texas.
Some may wonder why we should still push for local abortion bans in Texas when abortion is already outlawed from the moment of conception through two major abortion bans – the pre-Roe v. Wade Texas Criminal Abortion Statutes and the Human Life Protection Act. The answer is simple: From 1968-1969, five years before the ruling of Roe v. Wade (1973) and in a state which had completely outlawed abortion, a Henderson County Health Officer named Curtis Wayne Boyd committed over 10,000 illegal abortions. Many city and county officials knew what Boyd was doing, and those city and county officials did nothing. This proves that as “good” as the pre-Roe statutes are, they are not enough to stop someone like Curtis Wayne Boyd. After Roe v. Wade (1973) Boyd went on to open the first “legal” abortion facility in Dallas, Texas. In total, Boyd has committed over 250,000 abortions by himself with his two abortion facilities in Texas and New Mexico being responsible for over 500,000 abortions.
Of course, the return of a ‘Curtis Wayne Boyd’ is not the only reason Texans should keep passing local abortion bans. The State of Texas has senators and representatives who, like President Trump, are convinced there should be abortion exceptions – especially in cases of rape. Senator Robert Nichols of Jacksonville, Texas is one of these senators.
During a panel discussion at the 2022 Texas Tribune Festival, the Republican lawmaker shared, “If I get a chance to vote for an exception to rape, I will vote yes.” Senator Nichols continued, “I think instead of us telling women what to do, we should show our support for women of this state.” While Senator Nichols did vote in favor of pro-life legislation like the Texas Heartbeat Act and openly claims to be pro-life, Right To Life of East Texas and other pro-life organizations are recognizing this position held by Senator Nichols as a “pro-abortion” position. This is because, right now, innocent children who have been conceived in rape are protected from death by our state’s abortion laws. If Senator Nichols pushes and votes in favor of a rape exception being added to our state’s abortion laws, he is voting for abortion and pro-life organizations cannot support pro-abortion positions.
The Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative intends to continue efforts to pass local abortion bans, without exceptions for rape, in cities across Texas – especially throughout Senator Nichols’ nineteen counties. Currently ten cities throughout Senator Nichols’ district have passed an abortion ban, without an exception for rape. Those ten cities are: Joaquin (pop. 850), Tenaha (pop. 1,160), Rusk (pop. 5,618), Wells (pop. 769), Grapeland (pop. 1,489), Murchison (pop. 606), Latexo (pop. 322), Poynor (pop. 314), Brownsboro (pop. 1,036), and Athens (pop. 13,121). Citizens from Orange (pop. 19,169), Palestine (pop. 18,756), and Jacksonville (pop. 14,923), three of the larger cities from Nichols district, are planning on approaching their city leadership with abortion bans free of a rape exception later this year.
Regardless of which politicians are pushing for an abortion exception in case of rape, the pro-life community must do their part to make sure these politicians know that taking such a position is not acceptable and will be met with opposition. The pro-life community must do everything they can to maintain existing pro-life legislation, fight to pass more pro-life legislation, and fight to defeat any pro-death legislation – at every level of government.
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Mark Lee Dickson serves as a Director with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative.
Photo “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “I Am the Pro-Life Generation” by James McNellis. CC BY 2.0.