How One Texas Town Went From Speed Trap to Pioneers of Human Rights for the Unborn

How One Texas Town Went From Speed Trap to Pioneers of Human Rights for the Unborn June 23, 2019

Until about a week ago, Waskom, Texas was chiefly known for being a small state-line (Louisiana and Texas) speed trap on Interstate 20. The so-called “Gateway to Texas” was little more than a pit stop for most travelers. However, their reputation began growing when some new, more-restrictive abortion laws were recently announced in Louisiana.  On June 11, The Waskom City Council, fearing an abortion clinic from nearby Shreveport, Louisiana was targeting Waskom for relocation, voted to ban abortion and declare themselves as a “sanctuary for the unborn.” In doing so, any organization that provides or assists with an abortion, within city limits, commits a “criminal” offense.

One element of this event I find deeply heartening is they moved forward with this ordinance against legal advice – the argument being that the city will likely expose itself to lawsuits fees/fines escalating into millions of dollars. For a rural town with an average household income under $30,000 – that’s a big deal. So, what was the reasoning to press onward in the face of overwhelming legal opposition?

A passion for veritable morality and basic human rights for the unborn.

Officials in Waskom, Tex., (YouTube) (Screen grab via YouTube/Screengrab via YouTube)

It is rare these days that we see any municipal or state-run entity standing for something akin to biblical morality, particularly when not also shrouded in virtue signaling or posturing. Taking “bold” stances when the public opinion agrees with you is easy; it’s far more difficult to do so when one faces palpable consequences. Yet, at the risk of severe financial and social duress, these council members moved onward in faith that “God will take care of them” – truly remarkable.

As one might expect, and likely by design, this act is stirring no shortage of criticism. Many are suggesting that Waskom’s ordinance violates the Supreme Court’s ruling on the now infamous Roe vs. Wade. Coming alongside other Pro-life recent legislation, there’s a real hope such legal censures will elevate the case to the nation’s highest court for a (much needed) renewal on the debate of defining human fetal life.

I truly believe that ~250 years from now societies will look back with contempt upon the grotesqueness of the pro-choice movement’s ideals, logic, and spokespersons, perhaps, in much the same way we now look back upon the inhumane slavery practices of previous cultures. Objective science overwhelmingly demonstrates that a fetus is a fully human – more than that, it’s basic common sense. What else would it be? Every pregnant woman knows exactly what she pregnant with – a person. Were it not for a biblical understanding of the fallen human condition, I could barely fathom how anyone might look at some of the recent pro-abortion legislation and believe it aligns with basic human rights. The example that comes soaring to the front of my mind is the wicked abortion law recently enacted in the state of Illinois.

There, abortion is now legal up until the moment of birth – including partial birth abortions. If you are unfamiliar with exactly what a partial birth abortion is, well, it is when the baby is partially born –as in, everything but the infant’s head is exiting the birth canal – then the baby is then executed at the back of the neck. In most cases, the child’s brain is also removed and the head subsequently crushed for easier removal from the mother. I struggle to find words to describe how sickening and repugnant such a thing is. Undoubtedly, God’s eternal judgement looms over such horrors, and I think it no coincidence that the Illinois law is signed into effect just days before Waskom, TX responds with theirs.

The depravity of man is such that there will invariably be people so morally bankrupt that they can convince themselves a partial birth abortion is permissible under the a “healthcare” banner. It is these same people that must also believe the birth canal is some sort of magical baby machine that converts a dead clump of cells with hands, feet, eyes, lungs into a human being. It’s nonsense. As human as you or I, the unborn are worthy of the same right to life we enjoy.

I hope and pray that once the fundamental human rights of the unborn issue climbs before the supreme court the ugly absurdity of the “abortion is health care” and the “my body, my choice” movements will be exposed as the great murderous subterfuges they are. Because by altering the language and diverging from the focal point of the debate, they manipulate the public discussion to be about almost anything other than human life and morality. Friends, I fear we are witnessing a mass scale of deception so immense that it makes Hitler’s Nazi Germany look trivial.

As an example, I have seen more than one author go out of his (or her) way to discredit the Waskom City Council’s act because it was voted on by an “all-male, all-white” group. Consider some commentary from The Friendly Atheist blog (also hosted by Patheos) in an article titled, Five White Men in Waskom, TX Passed an Illegal Abortions-Not-Allowed Ordinance. Hemant Mehta writes, “But these are white men in charge. As we all know, the rules don’t apply to them. It’s not like they’re the ones who would be forced to give birth against their will.”

This is a preposterous distraction from the nucleus and heart of the ruling – and a racist one at that! Pertaining to an issue centering around the definition of human life and sanctity thereof, I would think the only requirement for a valid opinion is to be a human. Should the elected officials of Waskom City Council have been voting on some race-driven mandatory surrogate program, then he has some fitting commentary. But as it is, this is meaningless manipulative drivel.

Moreover, the “rules don’t apply to them” statement further evidences how deeply entrenched Mr. Mehta in mass deception. These men undertook what they did because they know the rules do apply to them – that’s the point! They know the law of the land applies to them, but they also know that those very laws are immoral.

Absurd as his remarks may be, Mehta gives me cause me to state clearly that there are issues/debates surrounding abortion worthy of meaningful discussion. The Pro-Life movement has been criticized for being too narrow in its focus on the preservation of life – perhaps, rightly so in some cases. But so much of secondary conversations are tainted by the perpetuation that a fetus is inhuman, it’s skewed discussions. As a culture, we must establish the sacredness and morality of the unborn human life before we can correctly and appropriately address most secondary issues. Any argument about the welfare of the mother must also recognize the life of the child. They are equally valuable.

Therefore, I applaud the actions of the Waskom City Council. Though small in stature, Waskom is risking what little they have for the sake of those who cannot speak for themselves. I hope that in that time Waskom will no longer be remembered as a state-line speed trap, but instead, as a pioneer for human rights. Well done.

In closing, I want to express how deeply and personally this act resonates within me. I am from Waskom. I grew up there and maintain personal relationships with people who were in the room, at the time of the vote. I know their character, their hearts, and their motives. The lawsuits and potential financial burden the councilmen are subjecting to the city to are real to me. Should it happen, I will likely feel the effects through friends and family. This is not just idealistic polemic banter on a computer screen for me.

Thus, I take it very personally when Hermant Mehta, the so-called “friendly atheist” blogger, writes that my friends and family have “no common sense or self-awareness”. This is an unbelievably ignorant statement. Trust me, they’re extremely aware of what’s happening and what’s at risk. Financial and legal distress is a modest price to pay for the preservation of human life. The future of our world rests on the decisions we make today, and we must genuinely ask ourselves, “what are our children’s lives worth?” If we forfeit our morality, we will lose our nation and, one day, answer to God.

It is as Winston Churchill, once said, “a man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality”

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  • BernankeIsGlutenFree

    “Objective science overwhelmingly demonstrates that a fetus is a fully human – more than that, it’s basic common sense. What else would it be?”

    Like, do you actually want to know, or are you just taking snipes at people who disagree with you while you think they’re not in the room?

  • Maine_Skeptic

    “Taking “bold” stances when the public opinion agrees with you is easy; it’s far more difficult to do so when one faces palpable consequences. ”

    This is not a bold move on the part of the town’s selectmen. When an angry mob is forming, it isn’t courageous to help them light the torches. The “consequences” they face are re-election, lionization by Evangelical blogs, and celebrity on Evangelical broadcasts. It’s even possible that a case much like this one will be used by the Supreme Court to take away a woman’s right to her own body.

    “But wait,” says the Evangelical, “what these women really want is the right to do as they please with no consequences. All they have to do is keep their legs crossed and they won’t have this problem.” And so you shut out any concern for actual people in favor of potential people.

    I agree with you that Hemant was wrong about the people of Waukom having no common sense. What is happening is so much larger than any court costs that it isn’t worth mentioning them.

  • Just to comment on the “all white” thing I wrote, I think it’s fair to say because banning abortions will disproportionately impact communities of color, the people who may be least likely to afford the chance to go elsewhere to get the procedure done. So on that point, the Waskom decision wasn’t wrong *because* the men are white, but because they made a decision that will hurt a lot of non-white people.

    • Jack Lee

      Hermant, thank you for your comment. I appreciate the clarification. That stance is difficult to grasp from your brief article. I agree that statistics show abortions disproportionately impact communities of color. However, if we understand an abortion to be the premature ending of a human life, then this “all white” council has done a wonderful act is preserving the lives of those who might not have lived otherwise. I suspect we will likely disagree on my conclusion. But, this goes to show how fundamentally important it is to all abortion-themed discussions to recognize the value of fetal human life.

  • Tianzhu

    Keep fighting the good fight, pro-lifers.

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    Thank you for this article. Although I empathize with the citizens of Waskom and understand why they might dread having an abortion clinic in their town, I’m uncertain as to whether their law banning abortion clinics is prudent. If the ban is upheld in court, then I think it will be worth the money spent on defending it. If the ban in not upheld in court, then the town will have spent much money that could have been spent for other purposes, e.g. funding a pregnancy resource center.

    Regarding “I truly believe that ~250 years from now societies will look back with contempt upon the grotesqueness of the pro-choice movement’s ideals, logic, and spokespersons, perhaps, in much the same way we now look back upon the inhumane slavery practices of previous cultures”: I hope so–although I believe the Lord will return before then.

    Regarding “Objective science overwhelmingly demonstrates that a fetus is a fully human – more than that, it’s basic common sense”: American fundamentalists and evangelicals ought to be mindful that this bit of common sense was not as common among them when the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade as it is now. At that time, staunch opposition to abortion was widely perceived as characteristic of Catholics, not Protestans and evangelicals. Consider the following excerpt from the Wikipedia article “Abortion and Christianity”. which tells how one of the most respected and admired leaders of the Southern Baptists in the 20th Century reacted to Roe:

    Former Southern Baptist Convention President W.A. Criswell (1969-1970) welcomed Roe v. Wade, saying that “”I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” the redoubtable fundamentalist declared, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” This was a common attitude among evangelicals at the time.[42][43] Criswell would later reverse himself on his earlier position.

    Happily, although there were evangelicals who criticized the decision. One can read about them in the article, “Were Evangelicals Really Silent about Roe v. Wade?”, by Thomas Kidd, which at present is accessible here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/evangelical-history/evangelicals-really-silent-roe-v-wade/

    • Lori Buckle

      I always love your reading your comments, Mr. Luiso. I don’t always agree with you, but you are so thoughtful and wise that you make me think. In this case, happily, I agree with you. 🙂 I grew up in a small town like this. It is much easier to let the government legislate your morality for you then to do the messy work of actually interacting with sinners. That way you can sit comfortably in your pew and never have to become unclean by getting near them. For all intents and purposes, it is the Judaic purity laws with the cross layered on for good measure. It also allows you to ignore the sin in your own neighborhood. I have personally heard the stories of women who, as teenagers, were driven to the abortion clinic by their pro-life parents because they were deeply ashamed of what the church would think about their “sinful” daughters. As you said, with all the money they are going to spend defending the law in court, they could have done something constructive like actually getting to know the women who come there and trying to help them. And if the city wins, what will that accomplish spiritually? Will any woman who would have gone to the clinic now enter the church?

      As for the Criswell comment, oh my goodness. Since Mr. Grayson is in seminary, I will guess that he is younger than me. (I’m in my 40’s.) There was a blogger here at Patheos–a Mr. Olsen, I think? He was very learned and moderate and from my parents’ generation. I loved reading his posts. Anyway, he once did a post about how moderate the evangelical church was back in the 60’s and 70’s. He specifically referenced abortion and provided Chriswell’s comment, as well as others from evangelical leaders who agreed with him. I remember feeling shocked–shocked!–that there had ever been a time before the Religious Right. I had literally never heard this stuff before. I grew up Baptist in the 80’s, and they sure as heck didn’t mention what happened before then. Maybe Mr. Grayson was as unaware of all this as I used to be.

      • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

        Thank you. I’m glad you enjoy reading my comments. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to agree with them–even those who, like you, “love” to read them.

        Roger E. Olson has a blog here in the Evangelical section of Patheos. Sometimes he posts an article in which he nostalgically reminisces about the evangelical church of his youth. For example, in June of last year he posted an article entitled “Is the Evangelical Christianity of My Youth Gone?”, and last week he posted one entitled “My Religious Roots: A Sentimental Journey and Pilgrimage Story”.

        Many Americans who identify as evangelical are unaware that there was a time–not so long ago–when evangelicals were not identified with conservatism. I think you know that in 1976, many evangelicals were excited to be able to support the election of a Southern Baptist who publicly testified that he had been born-again: the Democratic nominee for president, Jimmy Carter.

        Another thing which many American evangelicals do not know is what caused their predecessors to organize in support of conservative Republican politics. No doubt there is more than one reason, but for years it was commonly said to be, and believed to be, that the main one was Roe v. Wade. I have read in a few places, though, that it was something else:

        The Real Origins of the Religious Right
        They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.
        By Randall Balmer
        https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133

  • Rational Human

    Yahweh, brutally aborting Samarian babies and murdering Samarian children, because the adult parents offended him…

    Hosea 13:16

    Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.

    • Christiane Smith

      you need to learn about how the OT speaks of ‘The Ban’ in order to understand these references, or you will get the wrong impression of the God Who is revealed in Jesus Christ eventually . . . . ‘The Ban’ is a way of writing about the eventual destruction of all evil by God, not a literal description of God committing evil acts . . . . . see what you can find about ‘the Ban’ as a literary form used in the OT

  • Sarah Flood

    The criticism of old, white men making this decision is that they are the group the decision will directly affect the least, not that being old, white, or male is inherently bad. Old, white men are both not going to get pregnant and more unlikely than younger men to get anyone pregnant. Socioeconomic factors aside, just not being particularly likely to be directly affected by the decision in any way means that they are more unlikely to think about the potential negative effects. Imagine, as a white man, if a bunch of black women got together to make decisions that do not affect them but do affect you. How would you feel about that? Especially if they showed an inherent misunderstanding of your life and the lives of white men? Perhaps they decide that SPF15 sunblock is unnecessary, but you burn if you merely look at a picture of the sun. Would you feel as if, perhaps, they were missing some crucial information and thus not the people to make this decision? Probably. And women feel the same when a decision that directly affects them is made by a bunch of people in no way directly affected.

    • Sarah Flood

      (And I do know, by the way, that black people wear sunblock and do sunburn. But it’s hard to think of something that directly negatively affects old white dudes and no one else.)

  • Christiane Smith

    Hello Mr. Luiso,
    I saw the title and I thought: a town gets into adopting unwanted babies . . . but I was wrong.

    I don’t think we CAN ‘legislate’ our way out of the ‘abortion problem’, no. I think back to the stories of the very early Christians and how, in Rome, they would stay in boats to rescue unwanted newborns who were thrown off of bridges to drown . . . . so it has always been a work of mercy in the Church to ‘rescue’ those children who were unwanted.

    These days, with the ‘medications’ and the surgical procedures so available, it might be a better option for Christian people to work to change minds and hearts and to put forth efforts to provide a welcoming situation for a new mother, where we have in our nation guaranteed paid leave after childbirth for a time that is reasonable. Most civilized countries already have that in place. Some even provide paid leave for fathers.

    And women need health care that is affordable. That cannot be removed from them without placing them at risk for making bad decisions. So many other considerations . . . . there’s a lot to do to help make things ‘more welcoming’ for new life in this nation.