UPDATE: City Council rejects proclamation to make Twin Falls a ‘Sanctuary City for Pre-born Babies’

Some council members expressed concern that endorsing proclamation would open the city up for lawsuits.
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 3:24 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2021 at 4:33 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — On Tuesday, the Twin Falls City Council rejected Pastor Paul Thomspon’s Citizens Proclamation to declare Twin Falls a “Sanctuary City for Pre-Born Babies” and starting the process of prohibiting abortions within city limits.

Three of the city council members, Chris Reid, Nikki Boyd and Mayor Suzanne Hawkins endorsed and signed the proclamation as private citizens, but the City Council as a body felt they didn’t have the power to enforce such a proclamation and end abortion in the city of Twin Falls, based upon previous US Supreme Court rulings.

Council members Shawn Barigar, Greg Lanting and Craig Hawkins felt Pastor Thompson’s argument for ending abortion needs to happen at the state or federal level and not locally. Some of the members also felt that if the city passed an ordinance to prohibit abortions in city limits it would open the city up to a litany of lawsuits.

Lanting said to Pastor Thompson we might not agree with the court rulings, but “it is the law of the land.”

Pastor Thompson said he is concerned about the number of abortions happening annually in Twin Falls and that there is Planned Parenthood Clinic in Twin Falls. He told the council he believes they do have the power to make laws that are in contradiction with state laws. He made the argument that there was a time when prostitution was legal in Idaho, but the people of Twin Falls said, “not in our fair city” and passed an ordinance. However, the City Council didn’t see it that way Tuesday.

This is the fourth time Thompson has presented such a proclamation and argument to the City Council, and unfortunately for him the fourth time it has been rejected. However, he said a lot of potitve things did happen. He held a rally before the council meeting, and more than 200 people endorsed and signed his Citizens Proclamation. Again, three of those people are city council members.

Thompson said he was disappointed by the City Council’s decision, but he will continue to fight for what he believes is right.


TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —A pro-life group in Twin Falls wants abortion abolished in city limits, and they are preparing to present their argument to the City Council on Tuesday.

Pastor Paul Thompson of Eastside Baptist Church has lived in Twin Falls for about 20 years, and he said there is pretty much nowhere else he’d rather be.

“We find the city pleasant, enjoyable. We have raised our children here,” Thompson said.

However, being a man of faith, he is not happy that nearly 200 abortions have been performed annually in Twin Falls from 2011 to 2018, with a high 267 in 2013, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. He is also disturbed there is a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Twin Falls.

“It’s very concerning,” he said. “Even when you compare this to other ways death happens in the city of Twin Falls, a child in the womb in one of the greatest, riskiest places to be.”

To address his concern, Thompson, Idaho Right to Life, Sage Health Center and Students for Life will be issuing a proclamation to the City Council on Tuesday to “declare the City of Twin Falls a Sanctuary City for all preborn children with more than just words.”

“One of the things we will ask again this year is for the city to formally request the state to pass a law that would abolish abortion in the state of Idaho, or at least pass a law that gives cities the ability to abolish abortion,” Thompson said.

He said Tuesday will be the fourth time he has presented a proclamation to the City Council, and the other three went nowhere, he said.

“So everywhere I go inside our government everyone is willing to point their finger somewhere else,” Thompson said. “I do believe it can happen. I believe there is a pathway for this. We do know that cities do have the capacity to have their own laws.”

KMVT reached out to the City Council Monday, and in a statement councilmen Greg Lanting said the reason he opposed the pastor’s proclamation in the past is that:

“City ordinances are not allowed to be in conflict with state and federal law. In the case of abortion and medical procedures, we are only allowed to do what the state of Idaho tells us what we can control or not control.

Since we would be in obvious conflict with supreme court rulings, anything we pass would be immediately put on hold . We would end up paying both our attorney’s fees and likely those of whoever takes us to court. we have better use of our funds as it would not save one single unborn since it would never be allowed to take effect by the courts for the above reasons.

As far as the sanctuary city for the unborn is concerned. opposed for same reason as above but also for the same reason I opposed the sanctuary city status for undocumented workers. I will not be voting to have the City of Twin Falls violating federal law or us Supreme Court rulings (otherwise known as the law of the land.

Pastor Thompson needs to take his ban to the state. Even there I would prefer we allow other states to fight the battle and if the state of Idaho is going to pass something, have it be something that has already found a favorable ruling at the Supreme Court and save our tax money for schools and infrastructure rather than for attorney’ fees.”

Greg Lanting

However, Thompson is optimistic that something can be done. He saID in recent years there have been cities down in Texas that have moved to make themselves “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn.” In the end, he said all he can hope for is the council sees his passion Tuesday and discussions go further this time than they did in the past.

“This isn’t just a stunt,” he said. “This isn’t just for name recognition.”

KMVT reached out to Planned Parenthood for a response on this story. They have not responded back at this time.

The Twin Falls City Council meets at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, and Thompson has a rally planned before he meets with the council.

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