ACLU of Texas warns Mineral Wells about becoming ‘sanctuary city for the unborn’

Update: The Mineral Wells City Council voted on the issue July 16. Read about it here.

Hours before Mineral Wells officials are set to consider a proposal to make their community a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” ACLU of Texas sent a warning letter cautioning all council members.

The letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas notes that such an ordinance — which would prevent abortion clinics and services from making their way to the city of about 15,000 residents — would be unconstitutional and potentially open the city up to costly lawsuits.

“Targeting abortion providers for performing important constitutional work implicates other rights that the ACLU holds dear,” the letter from Anjali V. Salvador, staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas, stated. “We remain dedicated to protecting the rights of free speech and free association enjoyed by each person who lives in the United States.

“The ACLU of Texas urges the city of Mineral Wells to consider the best interests of its citizens and comply with its constitutional obligations.”

City Council members are expected to discuss this meeting during their 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday. The issue was added to tonight’s agenda at the request of Mayor Christopher Perricone, 38.

If the council decides to consider the designation, a formal vote could come later this month.

Mineral Wells is about 50 miles west of Fort Worth.

Perricone said he got the idea to do this from Waskom, which made headlines across the country when its all-male city council passed an ordinance last month banning abortions.

It’s true that neither Waskom nor Mineral Wells have abortion clinics in their communities. And that’s just the way some want to keep it, making it hard for any clinics to move in to their cities.

This city recently drew attention for the announcement that Southlake-based developers purchased the historic Baker Hotel here and planned to bring it back to life.

“As the city is currently in talks with outside investors to renovate the Baker Hotel and bring in tourism, we hope that the city council will consider what is best for its citizens and comply with constitutional obligations,” according to a separate note from the ACLU of Texas.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.