SAN ANGELO – This week's city council meeting once again turned contentious as the issue of designating San Angelo as a sanctuary city for the unborn continues to be a hot topic for the residents of the city.
Dominating the conversation during the public comment of the meeting, speakers for both sides made their feelings heard -- with cheers and heckles from the crowd.
Citizens shared stories of people they know who chose to get an abortion, their feelings on the matter, and their reasoning as to why the ordinance should be passed by the city council, instead of an election.
Comments kicked off with a statement from Donald Moon, the Director of Operations at the CV Biblical Counseling Center. Moon shared his wife died as a result of COVID-19 late last year.
"I know without a doubt if the city council could vote out COVID-19, if it had to be at one o'clock in the morning, each one of you would get up because of the hurt and the pain going on," stated Moon. "We know that is not realistic...but there is one thing we can vote and do away with and that is pass...where we cannot have an abortion here in San Angelo. You wouldn't wait to get to a vote for all of the town [for Covid-19]. I am asking you today to vote out abortion in this city."
"Most of the pro-choice argument is a woman's right to choose, but what I have learned...is that women do not necessarily know the lifetime of pain they are choosing," said Johnna Sandor. "Please vote for an ordinance today to make San Angelo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn. It is important for you to know that ...this will go to a vote...Planned Parenthood will open up shop immediately and start providing abortions to the Concho Valley and the surrounding areas."
Planned Parenthood closed its doors in San Angelo in 2013 and due to Senate Bill 8, the clinic is unable to perform abortions at this time.
"As of September 1, 2021, a new Texas abortion restriction law (SB 8) is in effect that limits our ability to provide abortions at our health centers," stated the clinic in an online statement. "Planned Parenthood, along with other organizations committed to protecting your access to abortion, are now in court to challenge this extreme law."
"You have heard from some citizens that all the people of San Angelo want this ban –– this is not true. This so-called Sanctuary City ban is an ironically named ordinance at best. It eliminates safe haven and merciful assistance for those with unwanted, unhealthy, unsustainable, and forced pregnancies," state Anna Martine. "Texas already places enormous hardships on abortion providers and their patients. In fact, there are only 21 clinics in Texas [that perform abortions]...to put that into perspective there are 602 Walmarts.
"Although unwanted and unsustainable pregnancies overwhelming occur in lower-income brackets, no federal dollars are used to subsidize the cost," stated Martine. "Texas abortions are trending downwards, but rather than praise a genuine effort to increase the humane conditions of Texas you should know this a premeditated act."
"What I would like to address is the fact that we have 15,000 children in our welfare system waiting. They are in foster care and we can't take care of what we have," said a visibly angry Norma Parry. " I have been a child welfare worker... [and know] those who have no idea how to take care of children. I have been a teacher and I have seen in our school systems the effect of children who cannot go home at night safely. And if their parents had a choice they would not have had them. There is just something that we need to do and that is let women make their own choices about their own bodies."
At this time the city council has not officially decided how it will move forward with the ordinance. If the council votes to put the law into place San Angelo would become the 38th Sanctuary City for the Unborn this year. Mayor Gunter has said the council would put the Sanctuary City issue on the ballot before voters on the next election.
Both groups have created online petitions to gather support for their cause. The petition in favor of the ordinance is being hosted by the Immanuel Baptist Church at www.ibcfam.org.
The petition against the ordinance can be found on Change.org at the following link https://bit.ly/39pdC1T.
Check out the comments from both groups in the video.