TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The City of Athens could soon be a sanctuary for the unborn, voters will decide next Tuesday whether to approve an ordinance outlawing abortion within city limits.

There are more than 50 cities in Texas that are sanctuary cities for the unborn, an east Texas attorney explains the impact since abortion is already illegal in the state of Texas.

“The major difference here is that the Athens ordinance is more restrictive than the state law. And the deal here is that if somebody helps someone that is outside of the state get an abortion outside of the state they could still be subject to a penalty in Athens,” said, Justin Roberts, attorney at Roberts & Roberts.

Athens City Council was presented with a petition signed by more than 15% of registered voters asking for this ordinance to be adopted.

“Prior to Roe v. Wade, there was 10,000 illegal abortions that took place in Athens,” said, Mark Lee Dickson, Director of Right to Life of East Texas.

Roberts explained the possible gray area under this new ordinance.

“You get into the issue of mobility, and it is just a gray area in the law. No one has the answer. It will be settled in courts but can you really stop out-of-state conduct between two Athens citizens. That’s going to be a major political and judicial question in the coming years,” said Roberts.

He said under this ordinance, people are able to sue others, and it would be a civil offense.

The ordinance is attached below:


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