City of Chandler votes down ordinance outlawing ‘abortion trafficking’

Council-members unanimously voted against making Chandler a ‘Sanctuary City for the Unborn’
Chandler City Council votes against 'sanctuary city for the unborn' ordinance
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 3:56 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2023 at 10:35 PM CDT
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CHANDLER, Texas (KLTV) - While recent state legislation effectively outlawed most abortions, the City of Chandler considered taking things a step further to make it illegal to drive on city roads while transporting someone intending to obtain an out-of-state abortion. The ordinance was on the agenda for the city council meeting on Tuesday night. After over two hours of public hearings with nearly 30 speakers voicing their opinions, plus in-depth discussion amongst the council and Mark Lee Dickson, the five council members struck down the ordinance.

The city council voted against the “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinance. There was then a motion to consider an amended version of the ordinance, but there was no second to the motion.

City of Chandler votes down ordinance outlawing ‘abortion trafficking’

Among the provisions and declarations of the proposed ordinance were statements which called for the investigation and prosecution of abortion providers and anyone involved in the distribution of abortion pills and/or paraphernalia under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. It also called for district attorneys’ offices statewide to investigate and prosecute not just abortion funds, but also anyone who donates to one.

However, perhaps the most significant portion of the ordinance was Section 5, which prohibits so-called “abortion trafficking.” As described in the ordinance, it would have been illegal for anyone to “knowingly transport any individual for the purpose of providing or obtaining an elective abortion, regardless of where the elective abortion will occur” if the transportation “begins, ends, or passes through the city of Chandler.” Anyone “offering, providing, or lending money, digital currency, or other resources” that would go toward funding an abortion would also have been in violation of the ordinance, had it passed.

“Protecting a woman’s right for health care, and privacy and the ability to travel and not be challenged about the reason why you’re traveling is imperative,” said Michael Fladmark, Henderson County Democratic Party Chair.

In response to the trafficking section, Henderson County Republican Party Chair Daniel Hunt had earlier said, “You don’t have to stop and show your papers or get a visa to travel to a neighboring state or whatever it is, absolutely, but, you don’t have the freedom to travel in order to commit an offense. If that child is a life, when you take that life you are committing murder and that – that’s a crime everywhere.”

After the council voted against the ordinance, supporters on both sides were filled with emotion.

“We’re gonna keep on. We’re gonna keep on fighting it, particularly the shooting down not even getting a second to stop the trafficking of children. It’s very disheartening that they didn’t have courage, and we’re going to continue to pray for them,” said Pro-Life supporter Sheena Rodriguez. She was the first person to speak at the public hearing.

On the other side, Pro-Choice activist Jennifer Murphy-Vick was filled with relief after sharing her testimony and hearing the council’s unanimous decision. “I am feeling very, surprisingly happy. I will state that. I’m very proud of the council men and women that stood their ground and voted with their constituents wanted. I’m very proud of all the speakers, both sides, for standing up and speaking what was on their heart and what their beliefs and what their stories were. All of us have a story, but it’s so important that we keep open dialogue amongst ourselves instead of just yelling and screaming and talking over each other.”

The proposed ordinance noted that none of these actions would have been enforced by city officials or city law enforcement, instead intending for any legal consequences to be inflicted via private civil lawsuits. It also specified that the “individual who is transported or attempted to be transported” to obtain an abortion would have been subject to penalty or punishment.

The language of the proposed ordinance also specified that civil actions were not to be taken against individuals seeking an abortion that is deemed medically necessary in order to save the life of the mother. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a Texas House bill that would provide exceptions for abortion in instances when the mother’s water breaks too early or if the mother is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.