After a number of community members spoke up during the last City Commissioner’s meeting about a potential pro-life ordinance that would name Marshall a sanctuary city for the unborn, a number of commissioners stated that this was the first that they had heard of the potential legislation.

Mark Dickson, the Director of Right to Life of East Texas, previously told the News Messenger that he presented a copy of this ordinance to Mayor Terri Brown for consideration, which would outlaw abortion within city limits.

Brown confirmed she did receive a copy of the legislation.

“We remain open to input on this and other issues concerning this matter,” Brown said regarding the ordinance.

Commissioner Leo Morris said that he was unaware of the potential ordinance until the Sept. 10 meeting, during which time four community members addressed the commission in favor of the ordinance with one community member speaking up in opposition to it.

Commissioners Vernia Calhoun and Amy Ware both stated that the commissioners have not discussed the potential adoption of the ordinance.

“I have no more information about it than was presented during the public comment portion of the last meeting conducted via zoom,” Ware said. “I always encourage my constituents to address the commission during the public comment section of our meetings with any issues they see as being important to themselves and/or the city of Marshall.”

The item has not appeared on the city’s agenda during any commission meeting since that time. Any commissioner is capable of adding an item to the city’s agenda for the entire commission’s consideration.


During last week’s commissioners meeting a number of community members addressed the legislation, including April Roberts, who said that she would like to see Marshall become a sanctuary city for the unborn.

“The purpose of this is not to restrict women’s rights, but rather help women who choose the right of life for their baby,” Roberts said.

Sara Whitaker and Joshua Perry also spoke up during the meeting in favor of the adoption of the ordinance, citing their personal religious beliefs and stating that they did not wish to see an abortion clinic set up within Marshall city limits.

Community member Melissa Al Amadi spoke out against the ordinance during the meeting as well, stating that she believed abortion access is a part of women’s total health care.

“It may surprise you to hear that I don’t like abortion, and in a perfect world we would not need it,” Al Amadi said, “But that is not the world that we live in, and until we are able to accomplish these things it is necessary.”

She added that statistics show that limiting women’s access to abortion does not prevent abortion from happening, but actually increases the number, and raises health risks due to unsafe procedures.

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City Reporter

Jessica Harker has been the city reporter with the Marshall News Messenger since 2019.