The 1873 Comstock law prohibits the conveyance of anything used for “the procuring or producing of abortion.” One man believes it’s the gateway to a national abortion ban that even the bluest of states will not be able to evade.
by SHOSHANNA EHRLICH
In June 2019, the all-male city council in Waskom, Texas, unanimously voted to make the tiny town of just 2,000 residents the nation’s first “sanctuary city for the unborn.” Characterizing fetuses as the “most innocent among us [who] deserve equal protection under the law,” the ordinance expressly bans abortion within its municipal boundaries. The man behind the ban, anti-abortion zealot and pastor Mark Lee Dickson, has since expanded his campaign to outlaw abortion “one city at a time” into at least six other states.
At first glance, this effort may appear superfluous in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which, in overturning Roe v. Wade, ended federal protection of abortion rights. In response to the decision, a growing number of states have enacted outright abortion bans or highly restrictive laws, while others have doubled down on a commitment to keeping abortion legal and accessible.