Antiabortion activists in Llano,Texas, are now targeting key regions along highways and near airports. Their aim is to impede pregnant women’s exit routes to neighboring states where abortion is still legal. This measure, however, could be too extreme – even for conservatives.
Since the procedure is now illegal across Texas, people are driving out-of-state to reach abortion clinics, passing through the small town in Texas Hill Country. For example, Llano sits as the crossroads of several highways that can be used to reach New Mexico, where abortion is legal.
In response, Llano residents said they have a responsibility to “fight the murders,” as reported by The Washington Post.
But, even in a conservative town like Llano, efforts to stop abortion travel are meeting resistance. Some local officials, even if they are deeply supportive of Texas’ strict abortion laws, expressed concerns that the “trafficking” efforts go too far and could harm their communities.
The Llano City Council voted to table the ordinance for another time, by a majority vote of 4 to 1.
The ordinance is being pushed by antiabortion activist Mark Lee Dickson. According to him, “abortion trafficking” is the act of helping a pregnant woman cross state lines to get an abortion by lending her a ride, funding her, or any other form of support.
The term “trafficking” has strong implications, as it is used to refer to people who are forced, coerced, or deceived to be transported with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Dickson argues that his definition is correct because “the unborn child is always taken against their will.”
“It sounds like more of a slave situation,” said Council member Laura Almond. While she is also a conservative, she thought that the ordinance could create division in the town and that it could have more negative implications in the future.
Back in college Almond picked up a friend from an abortion clinic, and couldn’t help wondering how it would have been if somebody might have tried to punish her under this law, reported The Washington Post.
“It’s overreaching,” she said. “We’re talking about people here.”
The ordinance has already passed in two counties and two cities, and Dickson is still pushing it in more Texas towns.