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Texas Agency Lets Homeowners Ban Abortion on Their Land—Forever

Pro-Life Properties of Texas, LLC is a company that offers a unique service to landowners in the Lone Star State: the opportunity to forbid the use of their land for abortion services. Ever. For a mere $77, Pro-Life Properties will help landowners file something called a "restrictive covenant," which all future buyers must sign, agreeing not to allow abortions to take place on the land.

Founder Ron Bryce, M.D.,  claims that his inspiration comes from a very personal experience as a physician 20 years ago, when he supposedly tried to treat a baby that had survived an abortion. "Although strong enough to live awhile outside the womb," Bryce writes in his account, "he was too young to to continue to live after being separated from his mother. His lungs were not developed adequately to support his respiratory needs." Bryce told the Catholic News Agency that "My little patient gave [abortion] a human face."

Restrictive covenants have a long and somewhat checkered history. Typically they're used to enforce homeowners' rules, such as what color you can paint your house or whether you can cut down certain trees. However, for a long time they were also a de facto tool of racial segregation, often stipulating that a given piece of property couldn't be sold to non-white people or Jews. In 1948, the Supreme Court heard Shelley v. Kramer, in which a black family bought a house without knowing that it had a covenant restricting it from being sold to "people of the Negro or Mongolian Race," and decided that covenants based on race could not be constitutionally enforced. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 finally put racially restrictive covenants to rest. As recently as 1998, however, was the case of Henry Ingram, a South Carolina man who held a deep resentment about the actions of the North during the American Civil War. Ingram tried to place a restrictive covenant on his land stipulating that his land could not be sold to "members of the Yankee Race," anyone named Sherman, or anyone with a last name whose letters could be rearranged to read "Sherman."

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