Willey, a small city in Iowa's Caroll County, became the 49th Sanctuary of the Unborn in the country after the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning abortion on Monday.

Sanctuary Cities For The Unborn Founder Mark Lee Dickson announced on Facebook that Willey is the first city in Iowa to enforce the ordinance through a unanimous vote of 4-0. Willey, whose population is 101, has joined many cities in Texas and others in the country in declaring their territory a haven for the unborn. Dickson was present during the declaration for he has been staying in the city for several days assisting petitioners for the ordinance.

A US City Outlawing Abortion

The ordinance specifically declared the city as a sanctuary city for the unborn, that abortion at all stages of pregnancy is an unlawful act, and abortion-inducing drugs are contraband. It only provided life-threatening conditions to the mother as the only exemption to conducting an abortion. A penalty of $500 is imposed on violators-those who conduct abortion or assist in it or aid in transporting a woman to an abortion provider. However, it does not fine or prosecutes a woman for seeking or undergoing an abortion.

In an interview with the Caroll Times Herald, Dickson raised that though Willey does not have a medical center or abortion facility, the danger of abortion pills being sent in the mail is still present.

"We're not so much worried about brick-and-mortar abortion facilities as much as we are abortion pill-by-mail and turning the mailbox into an abortion facility," Dickson said.

Willey Mayor Kristin Nehring also defended the ordinance. Nehring pointed out that the ordinance embodies the desires of their community for what is right, even though it contradicts Roe v. Wade.

"I think that it is good for our community to speak out and do what they think is best and stand up for what is right, and I believe that is what the community did tonight," Nehring said.

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Voting Against Abortion

Accordingly, the City Council meeting was attended by 30 residents who gathered in St. Mary's Catholic Church community room. The residents applauded as soon as the unanimous vote was reached. Two prayers were immediately said thereafter.

City council member Doug Riesberg raised during the meeting that it might be good to have one passing of the ordinance for reading to give the community ample time to better understand its content. Riesberg said it would also be a good opportunity to provide enough leeway for inputs. The ordinance normally requires to be read thrice for community feedback before its final passage.

However, Dickson urged that the ordinance be passed in full measure that night to avoid opponents from organizing against it. One of the residents, Allison Schoonover, seconded Dickson's suggestion. Schoonover is said to be a member of Carroll Area Iowans for Life and a mother of nine children. Schoonover said delaying the final passage is like inviting wolves from the outside world to come in.

The council then waived the necessary readings and passed the ordinance into law, after residents agreed to it.

Together with Willey, there are a total of 43 cities in Texas, 2 cities each in Nebraska and Ohio, and 1 city in Louisiana that have originally declared themselves as Sanctuary Cities For The Unborn. But Ohio's Mason City recanted its declaration last December 13 when the newly-elected mayor repealed the abortion ordinance and the council voted to support it 6-1.