Sanctuaries for Life: FAQ

Get answers to common questions associated with the Sanctuaries for Life initiative. Click on a question to reveal the answer or view and print out a PDF version of the FAQ. We will continuously update this FAQ as the movement grows.

Is a Sanctuary City for Life constitutional?

Since the unjust, unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, American citizens in all 50 states have been forced to allow the killing of pre-born children. This injustice directly defies the Declaration of Independence, the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, most state constitutions, and more importantly, the law of God:  You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).

A Sanctuary City for Life, therefore, promotes and defends the Divine right to life—from conception to natural death, without exception—within its local jurisdiction. A Sanctuary City for Life upholds the U.S. Constitution and submits to God and His law. It does not follow the federal government’s requirement to permit the killing of innocent human beings. In addition, the 10thAmendment to the Constitution grants to the States and to the People powers “not delegated to the United States.” Specifically, the 10th Amendment grants the power to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public. A Sanctuary City for Life uses its 10thAmendment power to protect the welfare, safety, and health of its people, born and pre-born, by ignoring the unjust, unconstitutional Roe decision and all its precedents.

Isn’t it anarchy to defy the federal courts?

The Sanctuary Cities for Life movement seeks to restore law and order and to protect our fundamental, God-given right to life by re-establishing the legal personhood of the pre-born. Anarchy is the opposite of restoration of law and order; it is the destruction of it. The inalienable right to life doesn’t come from government, but from our Creator. The federal government was established to secure and protect this fundamental right. When the government removes or destroys this right—through the judiciary, the executive branch, or the legislature—it ignores the same Constitution that its members swore to uphold. It is the right and the duty of the People, who established the U.S. Constitution (according to its Preamble) and who are granted powers by the 10th Amendment “not delegated to the United States,” to institute a government that will protect the life and liberty of its people. For this to occur, the People of the United States must call for it.

Is it biblical to defy the government?

God’s law against the killing of innocent human beings is clear. This law is supported by the sanctity of life ethic woven throughout the Old and New Testaments and echoed by the Doctrine of Imago Dei (Genesis 1:26-18), which establishes that all humans are created by God in His image and therefore, have value, dignity, and purpose. This is the solid foundation upon which biblical personhood stands. It follows, therefore, that a decision by a court to strip a group of humans of their personhood in order to permit their murder is unjust and immoral. And that decision should be ignored in order to protect God’s image-bearers.

He has shown you, O people, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless. Plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)

Consider these parallels. Should the Hebrew midwives have obeyed the unjust decree of the Egyptian king in Exodus 1 to kill all the newborn boys? No. The midwives were right in disregarding that command, fearing God above the king, and protecting the lives of those children. And God approved of their actions.

Should towns, counties, and states have obeyed the unjust and unconstitutional Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which forced Blacks to remain enslaved and considered property, not persons? No. They were right in disregarding this ruling, fearing God above the Supreme Court, and protecting the liberty and personhood of Blacks. God approved of their actions and brought freedom—and not through the Supreme Court; Dred Scott was never overturned.

“I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all…How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963)

Likewise, our towns, counties, and states today would be right in disregarding the unjust ruling of Roe v. Wade, fearing God above the Supreme Court, and protecting the lives of pre-born humans. God would approve of our actions, whether or not Roe is ever overturned.

We don’t have an abortion facility in our town. Why should we become a Sanctuary?

Even though no abortions occur in a local jurisdiction, pre-born children are not completely safe and protected there. Many states are actively expanding access to abortion through their legislatures and courts, through all 9 months of pregnancy. This emboldens abortion facilities to come into new areas that may be just a short drive from your town or county. Additionally, telemedicine technology is allowing more and more abortionists to reach women in rural areas over video conference to prescribe the abortion pill. Early chemical abortions via this pill are increasing, as are “self-care” initiatives that instruct women to order the pill online and take it on their own. For all of these reasons, it is critical to proactively promote and defend life in your local community, now and in the future, as the abortion industry adjusts to try to keep abortion legal and accessible.

Becoming a Sanctuary City for Life also advances the idea that the People of the United States have a constitutional right—and the duty before God—to defend the inalienable right to life. When a local community stands against abortion and builds a culture of life that supports and serves that community, their actions model both justice and mercy, and they instill courage in other local communities. Imagine if town by town, county by county, Christians stood up to protect the God-given rights of their pre-born neighbors and then inspired other Christians in their community to walk that out. Imagine the idea of self-government under God’s authority spreading to hundreds, even thousands of communities. State legislatures would hear it. The federal government would hear it, too. They’d hear the voices of millions of Americans who are under the will, favor, and blessings of Almighty God in their efforts to reclaim charity, restore the legal personhood of pre-born children, and abolish abortion throughout the nation!

What are the ideal characteristics of a Sanctuary City for Life?

There isn’t one ideal model for a Sanctuary City, but a set of characteristics that make a location more or less ideal. These characteristics include being a community that:

  • Is in a rural or small suburban area that can serve as a model for larger towns or whole counties
  • Is not in an urban or metropolitan area
  • Does not currently have abortion facility in it (this characteristic is likely to change once the Sanctuary Cities for Life movement grows)
  • Is in a “red” county on the electoral map, though this doesn’t mean the politicians that represent the area have consistent pro-life values
  • Has strong values, but is passive or unsure what to do to stand for life
  • Has strong values and a desire to take action
  • Is in a jurisdiction with local laws and ordinances that are already favorable to life or that could be leveraged to protect life
  • Has a city council or county board of commissioners in which the majority already support the right to life, in word or in deed
  • Has an established network of churches, businesses, and life ministries that work together
  • Has outreach-oriented churches and businesses that would be amenable to supporting and/or creating local life ministries

Why is this a three-step approach?

The Personhood Alliance’s strategic, three-step approach promotes long-lasting growth of the movement and protects communities from the legal challenges that burden and often stymie defiance-first and defiance-only approaches. Even more importantly, this phased approach empowers the Church to reclaim charity and share the Gospel, which has inspired the political and cultural changes that have been necessary in ending the greatest injustices in history.

What actions could a Sanctuary City for Life take in Step 2 to build a culture of life?

The culture-building actions communities take in Step 2 vary widely. These might include designating parking spaces for pregnant moms, starting mentorship/discipleship programs for dads, or fully funding and volunteer-staffing a local pregnancy resource center through the churches. Encouraging church members to foster and adopt, serve in domestic abuse shelters and crisis nurseries, or start a pregnancy help line are all life-affirming actions. Education is key in Step 2, so facilitating classes on pro-life principles, personhood, the Constitution, and other foundational concepts would be critical, both in the churches and in the community at large. Personhood Alliance Education is a great resource for this, particularly its Personhood Principles video course. The Personhood Alliance also recommends the comprehensive online curriculum Foundations, created by Educe® online learning.

On the legal front, Step 2 is a time when the community prepares to protect local authorities from being deputized or commandeered to carry out federal law. The community should also construct a financial plan to oppose the legal challenges that are likely to come from Step 3. Also at this point, communities can begin to raise up and endorse candidates to run for county and state government positions to replace compromised elected officials. Step 2 is also a time for citizens to formally and publicly call upon state legislators to restore legal protections through personhood measures. The Personhood Alliance and your state affiliate can lend its legal and strategic expertise in this phase.

I’d like my community to become a Sanctuary City for Life. Who should I contact to get started?

Go to the Personhood Alliance affiliate map to find the Personhood Alliance affiliate in your state. Reach out to the contact person using the information provided on their map page or website. If you do not have an affiliate in your state, you can apply to start one and bring Sanctuary Cities for Life into your state. If you have questions about Sanctuary Cities for Life and do not have an affiliate in your state to reach out to, email the national Personhood Alliance organization at

Sanctuaries for Life: Tools and resources

Personhood Alliance Education is creating a comprehensive training and support program to assist towns, counties, and states in becoming Sanctuaries for Life. Here are a few of the initial tools and resources Personhood Missouri is using.

Tools and resources

Sanctuaries for Life Petition Template (PDF)

Sanctuary for Life Resolution Example (PDF)

Sanctuary for Life Resolution Template (Word)

Become a Sanctuary City for Life: 3 Steps to End Abortion (PDF)

Articles: Defiance and sanctuary cities in other contexts

Sanctuary city policies in the context of illegal immigration

Joint statement from prosecutors and attorneys general on refusal to enforce Alabama’s abortion law

California’s defiance of federal marijuana laws

Personhood Alliance - Sanctuary Cities for Life resources

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