“It seems to me that the primary effect of this ordinance would be to make a political and religious statement, rather than to bring about substantive change in the lives of our citizens.”
Board of Alderman President Ramiz Hakim will not be sponsoring the ordinance to ban abortion and create Wright City as a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
“After much prayer, I am forced to consider the broader implications of the proposed ordinance,” Hakim said in an email to former Mayor Dan Rowden. Hakim also sent the email to The Warren County Record.
Rowden brought the issue to the city during the June 5 planning and zoning meeting, and then spoke during public comments at the June 8 board of alderman meeting.
The proposed “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinance has multiple sections designed to enforce a law that prohibits “abortion pills and abortion-related paraphernalia” from being sent through the mail.
“After careful review, I find myself in disagreement with the way the law is currently written, particularly with the aspect that seems to militarize our police force to investigate potential violations,” Hakim wrote. “This approach, I believe, could inadvertently create an environment of fear and mistrust within our community, which is contrary to our shared goal of fostering a safe and supportive city for all residents.”
In his email, Hakim also referenced the state’s current law prohibiting abortion.
Abortion has been completely banned in Missouri since June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed a right to an abortion anywhere in the country, that same day. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, the only facility in Missouri that provided abortions was in St. Louis.
“The proposed law appears to be somewhat redundant, as existing laws already protect the rights of the unborn to a significant extent,” Hakim wrote. “It seems to me that the primary effect of this ordinance would be to make a political and religious statement, rather than to bring about substantive change in the lives of our citizens.”
“It is for these reasons that I will not be sponsoring this proposed bill, and if asked, will advise my fellow aldermen to accept this recommendation.”
Rowden declined to comment until he had a chance to discuss the issue further with both Hakim and proponents of the ordinance.
Hakim’s decision makes it unlikely that Wright City will become the first Missouri city to declare itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
Sixty-seven cities across the country, though mostly in Texas, have declared themselves to be a “sanctuary city for the unborn." Two of the cities that did initially pass the ordinance have since repealed it. An additional 11 cities, not including Wright City, considered but did not pass the ordinance.
Seven other cities – none in Missouri – are currently considering the ordinance, according to the “sanctuary cities for the unborn” website.
For any proposed ordinance to be officially considered in Wright City, an alderman must sponsor the bill.
Rowden said during a June 12 interview he was “hopeful” the abortion ban would get that sponsor.
“I’m hopeful that knowing some of the people on the board and their hunger for life and their caring about others in the community, I’m hopeful that we’ll get the sponsor we need.”
Instead of sponsoring the ordinance, Hakim proposed creating a “supportive environment for mothers” to help eliminate the need for abortion.
“This could involve providing better access to health care, education, and social services, as well as fostering a culture of compassion, love, and understanding,” Hakim wrote in the email. “By addressing the root causes that lead to the consideration of abortion, we can make a more meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of both mothers and unborn children.”
Hakim concluded his email by thanking the former mayor for his time and dedication to the city.
“I believe that our shared commitment to the welfare of our community can guide us toward solutions that respect the sanctity of life while also promoting unity, understanding, and support among our residents,” Hakim wrote. “I look forward to continuing this important conversation with you and the rest of our community.”
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at email@example.com
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