The Freedom From Religion Foundation condemns a Texas town’s religiously motivated decision to prohibit abortion providers from operating in its jurisdiction.
East Mountain has become the 14th community in Texas to declare itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” after a 3-2 City Council vote. Historically, “sanctuary city” has referred to a city, county, state or municipality that limits cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement to protect low-priority immigrants from deportation. However, the anti-abortion Christian Right has co-opted the term in its disinformation campaign seeking to deny women their constitutional right under Roe v. Wade to decide if and when to become a parent.
The East Mountain City Council vote bans abortion providers from administering abortion care in its jurisdiction. With a population of 797, the town most likely wasn’t a feasible location for abortion clinics and providers anyway. The vote was driven purely by religious ideology.
Right to Life of East Texas, an anti-abortion advocacy group that is a subgroup of Texas Right to Life (an organization that describes itself protectors of “the God-given Right to Life of innocent human beings from fertilization to natural death”), thanked the congregants of East Mountain Baptist Church for their support of this ordinance: “This could not have happened without their support.”
And the Freedom From Religion Foundation agrees.
“This anti-science, anti-constitutional and anti-woman vote embodies the problem when citizens of one religious viewpoint seek to impose their narrow interpretation of doctrine upon unwilling others,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, adding that the vote makes the town the opposite of a sanctuary for women.
This collusion of church and government to deny reproductive rights in the name of religion shows no sign of abating in the United States, where nine states last year alone passed unconstitutional bans on abortion. Right to Life of East Texas is calling on “all of our churches and all of the residents of our cities do their part and call upon their leaders to pass good laws that protect the citizens and culture of their communities!”
The East Mountain vote is fundamentally un-American. Freethinking voters and citizens must stay vigilant to ensure that our laws and social policies are not dictated by religion. Our democracy demands it.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nationwide nonprofit organization with over 32,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 1,300 members and a chapter in Texas. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters related to nontheism.