The city of Lubbock, Texas is abortion-free again after its citizens passed an ordinance outlawing the killing of unborn babies in May.
The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance went into effect Tuesday, and pro-life advocates report the Planned Parenthood in Lubbock stopped doing abortions as a result.
For seven years, Lubbock was abortion free after the last abortion facility closed in 2013. Last year, however, Planned Parenthood opened a new facility there and began aborting unborn babies in April. The change prompted quick action by pro-life advocates in the city, and, on May 1, residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of an ordinance to outlaw abortions within city limits.
That ordinance now is being enforced. On Tuesday, Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, confirmed that Planned Parenthood is complying.
“Planned Parenthood is wise for ceasing to do abortions in Lubbock,” he told LifeNews. “We are looking forward to see other cities throughout Texas do what is necessary to protect their cities from abortions taking place within their city limits. Right now, we are seeing much interest in Centerville, San Angelo and Tyler, and we are hopeful to see these and other cities outlaw abortion in the future.”
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In a statement, Planned Parenthood said it will stop doing abortions until they are “legally permissible,” Everything Lubbock reports.
“The ban on abortion violates patients’ constitutional right to an abortion, and we’re in court to block this ban for Lubbock patients,” the statement read. “The Lubbock abortion ban creates significant barriers and the need to travel a minimum 600-mile round trip or out of state for patients seeking to obtain an abortion.”
On Friday, Planned Parenthood asked a federal judge to block the ordinance from being enforced, but the judge did not issue a ruling yet, KJTV 34 reports.
Earlier, U.S. District Judge James Hendrix requested input from Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone on the matter. In a letter to Hendrix dated May 31, which was provided to LifeNews, Stone outlined his objections to Planned Parenthood’s claims.
“In our view, Planned Parenthood has not shown that Lubbock’s ordinance is inconsistent with state law,” Stone wrote.
Lubbock is the largest city in the U.S. – and the first with an abortion facility – to pass an ordinance to protect unborn babies from abortion. Its enforcement is good news for the future of unborn babies and for other cities that also hope to protect them through Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances.
The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. It prohibits abortions within city limits and outlines legal consequences for abortionists who abort unborn babies. It does not penalize women who seek or have abortions, and it does not prohibit abortions when the mother’s life is at risk.
The ordinance has both public and private enforcement mechanisms. The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who helps with an abortion within city limits. However, it cannot be enforced until Roe v. Wade is overturned.
However, the private enforcement mechanism is immediate. It makes abortionists and those who help them “liable in tort to a surviving relative of the aborted unborn child, including the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings or half-siblings,” meaning the abortionist can be sued for aborting the unborn child.
It is this liability on which Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit primarily focuses. The abortion chain argues that the ordinance “imposes a substantial liability on anyone who procures, performs, aids or abets an abortion in Lubbock” and therefore places a substantial burden on women’s access to abortion.
Nearly 30 cities in Texas, Nebraska and Ohio have passed Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances, and more are considering action this spring.
Abortion activists have tried to stop the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, but, last year, pro-lifers won a victory when the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances in seven other Texas cities.