'Pre-born life' resolution presented to county

  • Dr. Laurel and Kurt Massey share a copy of a proposed resolution to declare Lumpkin County to be a “Sanctuary for Pre-born Life” with Byron Jeffries.
    Dr. Laurel and Kurt Massey share a copy of a proposed resolution to declare Lumpkin County to be a “Sanctuary for Pre-born Life” with Byron Jeffries.

When Dr. Laurel Massey heard about Yadkin County, N.C. becoming the first sanctuary county for the unborn she decided to follow their lead. A pro-life advocate for 30 years, she took a stand for the pre-born before the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners, proposing it adopt a resolution following Yadkin County’s example.
The resolution would declare the county to be “a sanctuary for pre-born life, and [urge] all citizens … to promote and defend the inalienable right to life under the Constitution … and the inherent dignity of all human beings, born and pre-born from fertilization to natural death.”
Yadkin, she said, "has an abortion clinic in the county north of them and they just didn’t want one encroaching on their county. I don’t anticipate an abortion facility coming here—we’re too small. But it’s a good opportunity to support the pre-born so they do not come into jeopardy.”
Not all those attending the Oct. 1 Work Session agreed with Massey’s position.
“This is a topic that will cause a lot of controversy and potentially divide the community, in my mind,” said Noah Steinberg. “You’ve got probably the number one heated most emotional issue in national politics … and you’re going to bring it home, right here to the local level, and I think that’s a mistake. A huge mistake.”
Steinberg said he believes there is an effort to put the issue on the front burner in local governments across the country via the internet. “I think it will end up in protests, lawsuits and a lot of hurt feelings regardless of which position any of you may hold.”
Ken Akins also spoke against the proposal. Despite his being “a Christian and opposed to abortion,” he said, “… we must realize that there are reasons we must uphold the choice of a woman—rape, incest, life of the mother.”
He urged the Commission to remember that Roe v Wade is currently the law of the land and to wait to see what the Supreme Court’s decision on more restrictive state abortion laws would be.
“In addition, I’m not supportive of lawsuits surely to result from a decision by our County Commission to honor this divisive and more than likely illegal proposition. I don’t want my extremely high taxes to become even more inflated from the inevitable result of a lawsuit. Let’s not touch this,” he said.
In a telephone interview with Massey she said the attorney for Yadkin County assured her the county could not be sued.
“It’s a resolution, not a law, so we can’t be sued, but if we have a resolution in place and a facility tries to come here we can say no. It’s a pro-active measure,” she said.
County Attorney Joy Edelberg, however, disagrees. Usually, she said, local laws, rules and regulations take the form of an ordinance.
“The county typically adopts ordinances by way of an adopting or authorizing resolution. Resolutions alone are generally not used to enact local laws. [But] any action of the County—including action by resolution or ordinance—could be subject to challenge,” she said.
Massey was not totally without support in her proposal.
Byron Jeffries was the only one to speak in favor of the proposed resolution. “I’m very, very anti-abortion,” he said, due to his own life changing personal experience. “I’m not worried about controversy. I’m worried about right and wrong. … I ask you to give serious consideration to [this]. I have no opinion as to whether the resolution in question could withstand a legal challenge.”
“I’m not asking for the moon here,” Massey told The Nugget. “There’s nothing the county has to do beyond adopting the resolution, there’s no cost, nor can the county be sued.”