A small Iowa city passed an ordinance on May 2 that bans all abortion procedures in the city limits and made itself the 49th American sanctuary city for the unborn. The Willey City Council voted 4-0 to outlaw surgical and chemical abortions.
Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative founder Mark Lee Dickson wrote in a Twitter post that Willey had become the first city in Iowa to “pass an enforceable ordinance” banning abortions inside its borders.
Local citizens gathered at City Hall to celebrate the news of the passage of the new ordinance. Mayor Kristin Nehring spoke in favor of the new measure, saying that she believes in what the community did and felt it is good for the community to speak out on important topics like preserving the lives of the unborn.
The city does not have any facilities that provide abortions, but the new ordinance will prohibit any from beginning operation anytime in the future. The new city law also prohibits the distribution of mail-order abortion drugs. The Biden administration has approved of sending out prescribed abortion drugs through the mail.
Dickson told reporters that while small towns like Willey are not necessarily at risk of “brick and mortar” abortion clinics, the ordinance is important to stop mailboxes from turning into abortion facilities.
The ordinnance also makes it illegal for any person to provide referals to an abortion provider or helping in procuring insurance coverage for aboriton procedures. While the law imposes fines on any person who “aids or abets” in abortion procedures, it provides that pregnant mothers are exempt from prosecution.
The law says that abortion inducing drugs are illegal “contraband.” It does not affect the use of birth control devices, oral contraceptives, or the “morning after pill.”
American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) of Iowa executive director Mark Stringer criticized the law, saying he believes that cities cannot punish providers or doctors for providing “services that are clearly legal.” The ACLU has not said if it plans to challenge the Willey ordinance in court.
Since the leak this week of the draft Supreme Court opinion that indicates Roe v. Wade may be soon overturned, new pro-life bills have moved forward rapidly in preparation for the possible return of abortion regulation powers to state and local governments. Oklahoma, Idaho, and Florida have all taken steps to complete enactment of new abortion bills in the last week.