To Be Human is to Possess the Right to Life — This Includes the Unborn!


OPINION — San Angelo is my hometown. I love our town because of the people. It’s a city where common sense, hard work, and patriotism are still alive and valued. Yet, the town we love protects the right to life of a dog at the shelter, but not an unborn human child’s right to life.

While Texas state law prohibits elective abortion, our city has the opportunity to adopt more effective tools to protect all unborn children from the moment of fertilization at the local level. Dozens of other Texas cities have done this, but San Angelo has not yet. Knowing puppies and kittens are protected from being legally killed in our community's 'no-kill' animal shelter is precious, but only a society that has left its moral compass behind would believe a dog deserves more protections than an innocent human baby. San Angelo has the opportunity to rectify this by passing the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance this November by voting “FOR” Proposition A. This would declare our city’s protection of all unborn children and add extra layers of protection and enforcement onto the current state laws.

Some recent opponents of the ordinance claim that such a measure would be forcing religion on others, that it would prevent women from receiving urgent life-saving care, or that protecting unborn human life is not within the purview of the city government. Such claims are either extremely misguided or blatantly false.

Respecting human life is not a religious issue, but a moral obligation. In fact, the protection of human rights is one of the most crucial roles of the government, and violations of these rights are among the most heinous crimes. When a society refuses to treat all humans as persons deserving of their basic right to life, we see all kinds of atrocities, including genocide, slavery, eugenics, euthanasia, and abortion.

The unborn child is a living innocent human. To be human is to possess the right to life.

While this understanding is affirmed by many faiths, regardless, it is undeniably affirmed by science that human life begins at fertilization.

Most of us learned this in basic high school biology, but for the critics, in 2018, Steven A. Jacobs at Chicago University surveyed over 5,000 biologists, the majority of whom identified as Democrats, and found that 95% of the biologists agreed that human life begins at conception.

Fertilization, also known as conception, is the moment when sperm and egg unite to form a new unique human organism with his or her own unique DNA and own body. From this moment, the unborn human, at this stage of human development called a zygote, only needs time and nutrients to be able to survive outside of his or her mother’s womb. However, never will this unborn child become more or less human. Size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency should never be reasons why a person’s human rights are revoked or ignored. Yet, these are the reasons abortion advocates claim unborn children are not human or are not deserving of their right to life.

Some have also claimed that the Pro-Life ordinance would prevent critical care from being provided to pregnant women. This is blatantly false.

Every Pro-Life law in the state of Texas, including the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, contains clear exceptions for the life of the mother. The definition of abortion in Texas law actually clarifies that abortion does not legally include ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage treatment.

Furthermore, Texas Pro-Life law also defines “medical emergency” as it relates to the exception for abortion as “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.” Important to note is that nowhere in this definition is imminence of death required before such life-saving action can be taken.

These critical exceptions are also repeated in the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance seven separate times, and it reiterates regularly that abortion will be prohibited “except when necessary to save the life of the mother.”

Not only is it false to claim the ordinance and Texas’ Pro-Life laws do not contain exceptions for the life of the mother, but it is horrifically dangerous to suggest otherwise. Circulating such inaccurate information could cause women to avoid seeking critical medical attention in these heartbreaking cases or prompt a physician to neglect providing lawful and necessary care.

Lastly, some have expressed concerns that the ordinance is not legally ripe or even feasible for the city to pass. The Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance is actively in place in over 40 Texas cities. In each of these cities, the ordinance adds extra protections, on top of the current state laws, to defend the communities from the horrors of abortion. In two separate instances the abortion industry sued cities for passing these measures, and in both cases the abortion industry failed, leaving the ordinances fully intact and cities successful against such attempts without expense to their taxpayers.

One of these attempts was brought by Planned Parenthood against the city of Lubbock for passing the measure. In reference to the Lubbock ordinance, the Texas Solicitor General and Attorney General of Texas issued a memo expressing, “There is no inconsistency between state and local abortion laws.” The federal judge dismissed Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit and forced the abortion business to quit committing abortions in the city of Lubbock.

The Texas Local Government Code also expressly states cities may “enforce ordinances necessary to protect health, life, and property and to preserve the good government, order, and security of the municipality and its inhabitants.”

This ordinance protects the most vulnerable lives within the community. Pregnant mothers and their unborn children, who are voiceless and completely at the will of those surrounding them, are preyed upon by the abortion industry. Both will be protected by this ordinance.

This is where San Angelo is already prepared. We have an amazing pregnancy resource center that offers community, counseling, and physical and social resources to mothers facing a difficult pregnancy. We cannot neglect care for mothers or families who have unexpected pregnancies, but must reaffirm our commitment to be Pro-Life both before and after the child is born.

San Angelo must act to recognize that unborn humans possess the right to life, even more than that enjoyed by our city’s dogs and cats. Preborn children are not a subhuman class. Our right to life as human beings is not tied to size, abilities, dependence, or location. To be human is to possess the right to life — born and unborn. This fall, San Angelo, Abilene, Plainview, and Athens, Texas, have the opportunity to pass this measure and protect their city’s children from abortion. We must not deny the right to life from innocent children in our town. Let’s make San Angelo the next Sanctuary City for the Unborn by voting “FOR” Proposition A on November 8.

The author, Ashley Leenerts, is a daughter of San Angelo, graduate from Wall High School and Angelo State University, and currently serves as Legislative Associate for Texas Right to Life.

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