It was a foggy morning in Ocala, Florida on February 18, 2020, which only served to accent the Spanish moss hanging lazily from the live oak trees. I saw that the parking lot for the county commissioner’s office was packed on this idyllic day with good reason. Commissioner Carl Zalak III of District 4 had a most interesting resolution on the docket. If approved it would make Marion County a sanctuary for the preborn.
Among those residents speaking in support of Commissioner Zalak’s resolution was Domenick Galatolo. He is the founder of a regional chapter of the Troops of Saint George, which provides adventuresome scouting experiences for fathers and sons.
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He began by defining the term sanctuary. It is a “place of refuge” he explained. This is exactly what “a preborn child enjoys while in the maternal cloister of a pro-life mother.”
He further stated this privilege is not extended to “millions of babies each year whose ‘place of refuge’ is breached by a hostile force.”
He did not use the term “preborn” by chance. The expression is part of the terminology found in the resolution.
Mr. Galatolo also pointed out an obvious contrast. Sanctuary cities have sadly become synonymous with safe havens for illegal immigrants who break the law of the land. This Marion County sanctuary proposed by Commisioner Zalak is different because it protects the innocent, rather than reward lawlessness.
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More local testimonies followed, including a retired Marine David Coffey and an 18-year-old young lady. They all spoke from the heart with enthusiasm and passion.
This admirable effort supporting the preborn in Florida is not unique. Texas was the first state to hijack the sanctuary concept and use it for the preborn. The state now has many sanctuary cities. While this is not surprising for the Lone Star State with their Don’t-Mess-with-Texas bravado, it is not what one would expect from the Sunshine State.
Floridians are arguably the most pleasant people you will find in America. Outside hurricane season, they enjoy a sunflower’s paradise. This climate is what attracts numerous vacationers and retirees.
That is also what makes this Marion County case another example of the Only in America paradox. Sunny Florida is the last place one would expect to find pro-lifers gathered on a weekday morning to make their voices heard on such a contentious issue.
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These thoughts were swirling through my head as I sat and listened to the congratulatory words heaped upon Commissioner Zalak and the militant pleas to pass the resolution.
I spotted a group of children sitting on the floor in the back of the auditorium enjoying games and coloring books. They were unaware of what was happening with their parents, who were locked on to the proceedings. There were also the students bused in from Trinity Catholic High School. How refreshing, I thought.
Over the last fifteen years, pro-lifers like these have closed 1,703 surgical abortion clinics across the nation including the last remaining facility in Marion County. This success is due to the dogged persistence of Americans—even those in Florida—who will not back down.
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When it comes to the issue of abortion, don’t let the smiling faces of Floridians fool you. If it involves harming the preborn… “Don’t Mess with Florida.”