The Ellis County Commissioners’ Court on Tuesday approved a resolution to declare Ellis County a sanctuary for the unborn. With a unanimous 5-0 vote, Ellis County became the first county in the state of Texas to pass a resolution defending children in the womb.

The resolution urges the citizens of Ellis County to promote and defend the unalienable right to life and the inherent dignity of all human beings, including the preborn, from conception or fertilization through all stages of development.

U.S. Congressman Ron Wright, whose district includes Ellis County, issued a statement praising the resolution.

"I applaud the Ellis County Commissioners' Court for being a voice for the voiceless and passing this monumental resolution," Wright said. "I am inspired by the elected officials, leaders, and constituents in the 6th District that continue to defend the inalienable right to life given to us by the Declaration of Independence. Protecting the unborn is something we hold dear to our hearts in Texas, and I am thrilled that Ellis County is the first county in Texas, and one of the first counties in the United States to become a sanctuary for life. I want to congratulate Judge Todd Little and the County Commissioners on this incredible achievement and want to express my unwavering support for this resolution."

Judge Little brought the resolution to the court as a result of Senate Bill 22. Constituents of Ellis County sent letters and petitions from over 255 organizations and residents expressing their beliefs and opinions on the matter.

During the open forum, 15 residents addressed the court all in favor of the resolution.

“I want to thank Judge Little for taking a bold stand for what is right and wrong,” said Rhonda Denman, chapter leader for Ellis Concerned Women for America. “These babies have their own DNA. These babies have their own genetic code. This code directs the development and growth of their own life from the moment of conception.”

Physician Dr. Ron Brice shared his experience with the court of being called for a code blue. “There was a preborn baby that was on the table. The baby had survived an abortion. It was my job to take care of that child,” expressed Dr. Brice. “I watched him as he was fighting ... I have been very pro life since.”

Commissioner Paul Perry made a motion to approve stating, “I value life ... I think if each one of us could explore our family history enough, there was a young man and young lady that made a choice ... The baby in the womb is a person.”

Commissioner Kyle Butler added, “I am 100 percent in support of it as well. To be a part of this, I think we need to start moving in this direction, so why not right here.”

Commissioner Randy Stinson expressed his personal experience with the matter, “We have chipped away at our constitution, at our morals, and values ... I don’t agree with abortion, I have four children of my own, 15 grandchildren, and five foster grandchildren. To see these little kids, that my daughter brings home, sometimes days old or just a couple of weeks. They all become a part of our life. I look at those lives and think what a waste if someone hadn’t had stepped in and said that life matters.”

Commissioner Lane Grayson concluded the topic of discussion by stating, “Oh how proud I am to be an Ellis County citizen today. This is only a resolution, what a resolution does is it shows the condition of those sitting in our seats today. It’s culture, it’s a heart condition. This is only the start.“

Judge Little brought this resolution to the Commissioners’ Court to fulfill the promise to support and defend pro-life initiatives.

“ ‘The day I get to my grave, I want people to know I fought for innocent babies,’ ” Little shared quoting Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. “It is an honor to lead Ellis County in advocating the rights of the unborn as we uphold the conservative values of our constituents so dearly.”

Upon passing the resolution, the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court decided to evaluate a contract in two weeks between Ellis County and FirstLook, a pregnancy resource center within the county. The contract includes a $30,000 investment into FirstLook, to maintain a safe, private, comfortable setting where services can be provided to families. These services include STI Testing and Treatment, Pregnancy Testing, Ultrasounds, Prenatal Classes and Parenting Classes, and counseling and mentorship programs.

“It is our goal to continue to invest in healthcare to provide support, prevention, and wellness to the women and families of Ellis County,” Little said.

The Commissioners will consider for approval the contract during the Feb. 11 Commissioners' Court meeting at 2 p.m.