Last Monday, November 28th, East Texas Right to Life Director and founder of SanctuaryCitiesForTheUnborn.com, Mark Lee Dickson, started his testimony before the City Council of Pueblo, Colorado explaining why he, a Texan, was involved in the pro-life efforts of citizens of a medium sized city in Colorado.
“Part of that is my fault,” stated Dickson, “we started a petition to outlaw abortion in Bellevue, Nebraska, and within days of starting that petition, Carhart started a GoFundMe page about moving to Pueblo, Colorado.”
Leroy Carhart is an infamous late term abortionist who gained notoriety for suing the state of Nebraska when it tried to ban late-term “partial-birth” abortions. The case went to the US Supreme Court where the late-term abortionist prevailed in the case of Stenberg v. Carhart (2000). Eventually, the Supreme Court would overturn Stenberg in the Gonzales (2007) decision, which upheld the federal version of the Nebraska Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Nevertheless, the abortionist continued his gruesome practice of killing children in the womb and has, in fact, been expanding in the past years, opening up an abortuary in the state of Maryland and now attempting to open up shop in Pueblo, Colorado.
Colorado recently passed a radical pro-abortion law that completely dehumanizes and strips the preborn of any and all rights at any stage of pregnancy, making it a magnet for barbaric late term abortionists such as Leroy Carhart.
The act declares that every individual has a fundamental right to use or refuse contraception; every pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion; and a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of the state.Colorado Reproductive Health Equity Act, 2022
The ordinance was introduced by Councilwoman Regina Maestri, who told a local newspaper that it took courage to do so but that her conscience dictated that she needed to introduce the ordinance.
I know when I lay my head down at night, I know I’ve done the right thing. I hope this takes us in the direction that we’re looking for for a safer community for women.Pueblo Councilwoman Regina Maestri
The initial meeting before the City Council of Pueblo was attended by a large gathering of pro-life and pro-abortion participation, as is normally the case when abortion is the topic of discussion.
Watch a video of Mark’s testimony and the full meeting below:
After heated testimony and some grandstanding by local legislators, the City Council voted by 4-3 to advance the ordinance that had been introduced by Councilwoman Regina Maestri. The final vote will be held on December 12th, but a previous working Session was celebrated on Wednesday, December 7th that was itself enveloped in controversy due to a last minute maneuver, where Mark Lee Dickson and the pro-life representatives were uninvited by the fact finding committee. This prompted pro-life law firm, ACLJ, to send a letter to the Pueblo City Council warning them that excluding pro-lifers while allowing pro-aborts would amount to unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.
The full Work Session, which after the threat of litigation from the pro-life ACLJ attorneys did include a pro-life witness, can be watched below:
The ordinance itself is an interesting mix of Texas’ Heartbeat bill and other Sanctuary City ordinances with two interesting strategies combined into one law: a private right of action, and reliance on the federal supremacy of the Comstock Act over the recently passed state pro-abortion law.
Private Right of Action
Taking a cue from Texas’ Heartbeat law, the Pueblo ordinance includes a “private right of action” as the method of enforcement. This means that private individuals or organizations would be responsible for enforcing the law through civil lawsuits, not local law enforcement officials. In practical terms, this means that the law cannot be challenged preemptively, and the local municipality cannot be sued, since they are not involved in the enforcement action.
The US Supreme Court rejected pro-aborts’ challenges to the “private right of action” in January 2022 and in April, the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the earlier Texas Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of the constitutionality of the “private right of action”.
The Comstock Act was a law originally passed in 1873 to prohibit the distribution of contraceptives, pornography and abortion related items in the mail. Prominent eugenicist and founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, organized the challenge to a state version of the law in the famous case of Griswold v. Connecticut, a case which established the “right” to privacy that would eventually serve as precedent for Roe v. Wade.
However these cases dealt specifically with the contraception part of the Comstock Act and not the abortion related prohibitions. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the proponents of the Pueblo believe the Comstock Act to be enforceable and binding upon states like Colorado, who have to abide by federal law in accordance with the supremacy of federal laws over state laws.
The Pueblo ordinance does not deal with the intentional destruction of human embryos through IVF or with a series of abortifacient drugs and devices.
The Colorado Attorney General’s office, the town’s attorney’s and representatives of the state courts declined to comment.