A federal court dismissed Planned Parenthood’s challenge to the city of Lubbock, Texas, which had passed an ordinance declaring the city a “Sanctuary for the Unborn,” and stated, “Abortion at all times and all stages of pregnancy is declared to be an act of murder.” The ordinance made it illegal to procure or perform an abortion or to aid or abet an abortion within the city limits.
On May 1, Lubbock passed the ordinance, which became effective on June 1, the same day the federal court dismissed Planned Parenthood’s challenge. Lubbock’s approval meant the city was the largest city by far in the United States to outlaw abortion. Lubbock has an estimated population of 258,862. Twenty-two other Texas cities and two cities in Nebraska have passed ordinances with similar intent, but Lubbock is the only town with an active abortion clinic.
Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz, a West Texas native and graduate of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, responded to the vote by stating, “This is a tremendous victory for the people of Lubbock and all of Texas! Outside pro-abortion groups spent over $150,000 to defeat the proposition, but the West Texas community stood firm in their Pro-Life values. Lubbock’s move on Saturday will create a ripple effect all across Texas, encouraging more towns to become Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn and motivating politicians in the state Capitol to end abortion statewide.”
In dismissing Planned Parenthood’s challenge, the federal court wrote:
Plaintiffs allege the ordinance is invalid because it violates federal constitutional rights, could not validly create civil liability between private parties, and is preempted by state law. But plaintiffs admit that even if the Court gave them everything they wanted, the Court’s ruling would not bar private citizens from bringing suit in state court, bind the state judiciary by its ruling, or force the ordinance’s repeal. Because the ability to remedy a plaintiff’s injury through a favorable decision is a prerequisite to a plaintiff’s standing to sue—an ability absent here—the Court dismisses the case for lack of jurisdiction.
Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal noted, “The State of Texas has never repealed its pre-Roe v. Wade statutes that outlaw and criminalize abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger. The Texas legislature’s recently passed Texas Heartbeat Act is consistent with this, and the Act will take effect on September 1, 2021.”
“The Lubbock ordinance also creates a private-enforcement provision. That allows any citizen of Texas to sue anyone that procures, performs, or aids and abets an abortion, other than the unborn child’s mother,” the Thomas More Society asserted.
Kaardal said bluntly, “Cities have the right to regulate businesses and practices within their bounds. A municipality may choose to allow gambling, or even prostitution, or may criminalize it. Abortion is a business, driven by profit, and is required to abide by municipal regulations.”