OPINION: Expat & Former San Angelo Mayor Lown Says Sanctuary City Issue is Extreme & Divisive


SAN ANGELO – Former San Angelo Mayor J.W. Lown has weighed in on the Sanctuary City for the Unborn issue before San Angelo voters in November in a Letter to the Editor submitted to San Angelo Live.  

Lown now lives in central Mexico with his spouse.  He has business interests and family in the San Angelo area.  Lown is a registered voter in San Angelo and can vote on this proposition.  

Here is Lown's Opinion Letter on the Sanctuary City for the Unborn Issue: 

Letter to the Editor

Former Mayor Joseph (J.W.) Lown

Don’t turn neighbors into enemies

Declaring San Angelo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn doesn’t sound altogether problematic at first blush. But what does something so righteous-sounding really mean?

Most of my male friends haven’t given much thought to the options available to women faced with unwanted or problematic pregnancies. After listening to my female friends more closely, I now apprehend how extreme the proposal is.

The proposition banning abortion in San Angelo, which is up for a vote this November, allows for absolutely no exceptions if the woman is raped by persons unknown to her or impregnated by someone who is as close as her next of kin. It intrudes into the most private realms of family life and doctor/patient relationships. The invasive nature of this provision should give any thoughtful voter reason to rethink the issue as public policy.  

It is always tempting to use civil law to dictate and enforce one’s own understanding of what is “God’s law,” especially as a pretext to meddle in the personal lives of others.  Such action strikes me as theological arrogance.

While this proposition may present itself as a referendum vote, it is far from being true responsible citizenry that involves giving credence to the concerns of our neighbors, addressing public and private fears, listening, and wrestling with ourselves as much as with others in order to reach a consensus.  

Are you an employer?  Do you want to provide coverage for abortions for your employees? Under this proposed ordinance you cannot. It would be a crime.

Do you have a spouse, a sister or a daughter who needs an abortion?  You’d be legally at risk for driving her to Dallas.  

Another aspect declares that it shall be unlawful to possess or distribute abortion-inducing pills in the City of San Angelo.  With a bit of creative interpretation, this dictate has few bounds if any.

This is an iron-clad proposal that has far-reaching implications. Proponents proudly proclaim that one preeminent lawyer is willing to defend it pro-bono should anyone attempt to challenge it.  There are so many elements to this eleven-page ordinance.  If one section is struck down, other aspects will stand, perhaps even prevail. It is cleverly written.

This ordinance strategically defines human life and personhood as occurring at conception.  While some hold this belief, it is not everyone’s belief or understanding of life.  This level of specificity about personhood has very real implications as to how civil society defines and prosecutes murder and homicide.   

According to this proposal, “abortion at all times and at all stages of pregnancy is declared to be an act of murder unless the mother’s life is in danger.”  Even then, a doctor has the burden of proving affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.  

Encouraging private citizens to enforce the provisions of this law is another concerning element.  Honestly, I don’t fully understand the full implications of this provision.  Do we really want to incentivize and reward 3rd party individuals and empower vigilantes to actively report fellow citizens to the authorities? 

The people of San Angelo are good, and they are thoughtful.  I encourage them, our voters, to read the ballot measure here .  This measure needs to be scrutinized.  If passed, it could take decades to reverse, and real people in real situations will suffer along the way. 

This so-called Sanctuary City for the Unborn is extreme for our humble city.  It does not accommodate fundamental concerns, and it encourages neighbor to turn against neighbor.


Joseph W Lown

Former Mayor of San Angelo, Texas

Have a different opinion?  San Angelo LIVE! encourages and accepts Letters to the Editor.  Please include an email address and current Photo and submit letters to: [email protected].  

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I pretty much quit caring what JW thought about events in the city of San Angelo when he ran for re-election while aiding and abetting an illegal alien, then fled the country on the eve of his swearing-in. 

I would like to know why if this powder-puff is an “expat” is “his” opinion even being published here? 
“He” sucked as a mayor to begin with and couldn’t even finish out the term so “he” could run off to Mexico to be with “his” lover? 
And you want to give “him” a pedestal for an opinion????! 

You can’t make this stuff up! ??‍♂️

He has lived in sin too long to understand the difference between right and wrong.  Murder at any stage of LIFE is wrong.  I pray that he turns away from sin and finds his way back to God. 

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