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Llano council asked to make city ‘sanctuary of the unborn’

Mark Lee Dickson

Anti-abortion activist Mark Lee Dickson tells Llano residents he is disappointed with their City Council for not passing an anti-abortion/trafficking ordinance. Dickson has participated in the passing of such ordinances in over 70 local governments, including 51 in Texas. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Llano City Council members tabled an ordinance that would designate the city as a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” while a French documentary film crew recorded their actions during a meeting Monday, Aug. 21. The council plans to address the matter at its next meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5 in Council Chambers, 301 W. Main St.

The agenda item drew dozens of outspoken opponents and advocates as well as anti-abortion activist and pastor Mark Lee Dickson of Right to Life of East Texas. The film crew has been following him from city to city as he advocates for the passage of similar ordinances, which would, among other restrictions, prohibit any resident of a city from having an abortion no matter the location. The ordinance would also prohibit the sale or distribution of abortion-inducing drugs within city limits and the transportation of any resident for an abortion.

Alderwoman Laura Almond moved to table the item because City Administrator Marty Mangum was not in attendance and because of her personal opposition to it.

“I hate abortion, I love life, I’m a Jesus lover, like all of you in here, but sitting up here, we have to consider that this is basically unenforceable in many ways and yet, just like the library, it’ll pit people against each other,” she said, referring to a federal civil lawsuit over book banning in the Llano County Library System that has drawn national attention. “I don’t want to be a part of that. I don’t want people to hate each other just because they vote red or blue.”

A majority council vote approved Almond’s motion to table, with Alderman Wayne DeCesaris, voting against. DeCesaris asked that the item be placed on the agenda.

Dickson was approached by a group of Llano residents who were interested in his help passing a sanctuary for the unborn ordinance, he told

“We had an interest meeting in the city of Llano over a period of weeks,” Dickson said. “There is a lot of interest throughout this area. Llano may not be the first one in this area to go forward, but I bet another community will.”

Mayor Marion Bishop and Alderwoman Almond confirmed that a group of residents had reached out to Dickson leading up to the ordinance proposal.

Supporters of the ordinance advocated for the “sanctity of human life” and combatting the perceived threat of “abortion trafficking,” defined as transporting women for purposes related to abortion. Those opposed to the ordinance said it would be redundant, as abortion is already illegal by Texas state law, and claimed it would only lead to division within the community.

“The proposed ordinance has nothing to do with the right to an abortion or precluding people from that,” Bishop clarified at the outset of the meeting. “It has more to do with trafficking individuals to and from abortion clinics.”

The ordinance would not be enforced by city staff or officials but by civil lawsuits filed by residents.

“(The ordinance) will be before the council again, and probably after some other research and exploration, I think it will pass,” Bishop said. 

You can read the ordinance in the City Council’s Aug. 21 agenda.

3 thoughts on “Llano council asked to make city ‘sanctuary of the unborn’

  1. Good idea. Let’s have a Gestapo state where neighbors can rat out neighbors. (sarcasm intended)

    1. They’re working on it. When the anti-abortion law went into effect, there were militia-types who appealed to the governor to deputize them to stop women of childbearing age from crossing the border unless somehow they could prove they were not pregnant. I kid you not.

  2. Alderwoman Almond, why would you represent the will of those who did not elect you when it flies in the face of your convictions?

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