Citizens Call for ‘Sanctuary City’ for Unborn
Amidst appalling new abortion laws passed in New York State, locals are pushing back.
By Mark Anderson
A bookstore owner in upstate New York is pushing back with all his might against the state’s tyrannical and immensely de-humanizing late term abortion law—passed under the innocuous name “The Reproductive Health Act” by the state assembly amid public celebration by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic confreres.
Among other things, Jon Speed of the Book Scout, a rare-books store he opened in Syracuse in 2014, is joining hands with others to build on the idea of declaring Batavia “a sanctuary city for the unborn” to protest Cuomo’s signing of the act. Getting the city to make such a declaration, however, is no easy task.
Speed, who is also pastor of Christ is King Baptist Church, was one of about 20 people who spoke out at a Feb. 11 City Council meeting, asking its nine members to at least write a letter to Cuomo to convey their official opposition to the new law, short of making the “sanctuary” declaration.
The encouraging part of this bittersweet story is that at least one of the council members had already indicated that it’s way past time for local leaders to stand up for the pre-born, amid reports that several other states have considered laws like New York’s.
“I grew up in Batavia. A friend went to an earlier council meeting [held a few days after the Jan. 22 passage of the state law] and council member Rose Marie Christian called for Batavia to become a sanctuary city. My friend filled me in and encouraged me to go back to my hometown and build on this,” Speed told this writer.
Speed took the extra measure of closing his bookstore the day after the law’s passage to deny the state its sales-tax revenues for that one day, while knowing, realistically, that he can’t carry out that action too often. But what counts, he said, is the tax-revolt symbolism. He continues to close the store from time to time for that same reason. “The theme of the emails that poured in, in response, has been hope,” he noted.
One of the horrific hallmarks of the abortion culture, beyond the increasingly callous disregard for the lives of the most defenseless and innocent human beings, is the moral surrender into which many people are induced, creating a frigid sense of hopelessness and a futile sense of cowardice in sizable cross-sections of the population.
On that note, the debilitating downside to this story is that when the Feb. 25 council meeting came around—bringing with it expectations by Speed and other pro-life activists that at least the letter to Cuomo may very well be approved—the letter-writing idea suddenly hit the shoals when every council member except Ms. Christian voted against it.
“They voted against it even though most of them are pro-life, which was really ridiculous. I mean, all it is, is a letter,” Speed remarked, exasperated about the lack of conviction among the city’s leadership.
Marcus Pittman, an Arizona native who directed “Babies Are Murdered Here,” a documentary movie for which Speed is a co-producer, had a different take that he passionately shared with the council with about 100 people in attendance.
“Marcus got up and spoke and … he really brought the ‘fire’ to the meeting. He just said, ‘I am actually against the letter; you should just make this place a sanctuary city for the unborn and be done with it, because we all know it’s murder,’ ” Speed recalled.
As of this writing, the sanctuary city idea remains in limbo. Meanwhile, Speed and likeminded citizens are continuing to raise public awareness by circulating petitions and conducting regular protests at an area clinic of Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest tax-funded abortion provider.
Speed is especially disturbed that under the Reproductive Care Act, even the criminal code was altered to the point where, in a recent case, a man who stabbed a pregnant woman and killed her baby in the process was charged for harming the woman but “didn’t even get charged with murder under the new law,” due to the law’s dehumanization of pre-born babies.
“To think it’s become this wicked—this malice of forethought, this determination to kill the baby,” Speed remarked, adding, “Due to the nature of sinful man, there’s an obsession with narcissism—we must have whatever we want, at all costs.”
Beyond trying to get local governments to challenge state and federal tyranny against life itself, Speed is working on a sequel to the above-mentioned documentary movie, to be named, “Babies Are Still Murdered Here.” The original can be found on YouTube, where a 90-second trailer for the sequel also is posted.
Pro-Life ‘Heartbeat Bills’ Have a Chance to Pass in Several States
If no heartbeat means death, then a beating heart must mean life.
By Mark Anderson
In direct response to moves by certain states to allow late term abortion procedures beyond 24 weeks—well into the third trimester, when most babies could survive outside the womb if aided by modern technology—Missouri is seeking to go in the opposite direction.
On Feb. 27, Republican legislators in the Show Me State approved legislation in the state House for what could become the most restrictive abortion law in the country.
Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr and other legislators carefully examined what other states have proposed to limit abortion and decided to bundle all those measures into one piece of legislation—having focused on abortion laws that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit had struck down because they were not sufficiently explicit about the state’s interest in protecting life.
“We watched what happened to New York and Virginia, and it was somewhat of a call to action,” Rep. Haahr told The Washington Times. “The goal of this underlying bill is to protect the unborn in this state… . We show [in House Bill 126] a significant amount of legislative findings, which multiple attorneys have told us is where other state abortion laws are falling short.”
Thus, despite frequent media reports that suggest ultra-liberal abortion laws are the dominant trend, Missouri joins a growing roster of Republican-led legislatures seeking stricter laws that may spark a challenge to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which struck down state laws that prohibited abortion.
Meanwhile, in Iowa—which was something of a pacesetter last year with the passage of its “fetal heartbeat” law—Judge Michael Huppert in January 2019 struck down the measure, which, the Associated Press noted, “would have been the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation.”
The AP reported that Huppert found Iowa’s law to be “unconstitutional” on the basis that “prohibiting abortions at the detection of a fetal heartbeat,” as the Iowa law intended, somehow “violates both the due-process and equal-protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution as not being narrowly tailored to serve the compelling state interest of promoting potential life.”
The media and judiciary both failed to explain how a living human being with a heartbeat is only “potential” life. In addition, the actual concept of “equal protection” of both mother and child is not even considered, nor is there any mention of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “No person … shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”
Nevertheless, Huppert’s reference to the Iowa law lacking a “compelling state interest” is exactly what Missouri is looking at to make its actions more “bulletproof.”
“I am incredibly disappointed in [Huppert’s] court ruling, because I believe that if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then a beating heart indicates life,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement, having signed the bill into law in May 2018. A July 2018 legal challenge by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic had halted the law from taking effect.
As of this writing, Rhode Island and New Mexico appear intent on following New York’s lead in allowing late term abortions, while Virginia’s House of Delegates, which had been on the path toward allowing abortion at any stage, voted down such radical liberalization.
Delaware Gov. John Carney foreshadowed New York’s infamy and signed a bill in mid-2017 making abortion legal throughout all stages of pregnancy.
A major factor behind radical abortion laws is the common fear shared by pro-abortion officials and media in New York, Virginia, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and elsewhere that the Supreme Court might someday overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, especially in light of President Donald Trump’s appointments of conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the court and concerns that liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may step down due to health issues—creating yet another vacancy for Trump to fill.
Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. He invites your thoughtful comments and story ideas at [email protected].