Lubbock, Texas Fights in Court to Stop Planned Parenthood From Overturning New Abortion Ban

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 1, 2021   |   9:58AM   |   Lubbock, Texas

Planned Parenthood is trying once again to block a Lubbock, Texas ordinance that protects unborn babies by banning abortions within city limits.

On Tuesday, the abortion chain and other groups asked a federal judge to reconsider his decision to throw out their lawsuit against the Lubbock Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, Everything Lubbock reports.

U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix dismissed the lawsuit in early June, ruling that Planned Parenthood lacks jurisdiction. As a result, Planned Parenthood, the only abortion facility in the city, stopped aborting unborn babies in the city.

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. In May, residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of the ordinance, which bans abortions within city limits and allows private citizens to sue abortionists for violating the ban.

But Planned Parenthood is not giving up without a fight. Hendrix dismissed its first lawsuit without prejudice, meaning Planned Parenthood could sue again.

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Here’s more from the local news:

The main reason cited in [his] June 1 dismissal was lack of standing, meaning, in the court’s eyes, Planned Parenthood had not done enough to prove it suffered injuries caused by the city.

In its motion Tuesday, Planned Parenthood argued that the dismissal allows the city to defy the decisions of the Supreme Court.

“The Court’s ruling on standing in effect permits the City to defy the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States and eliminate the core protection of a constitutional right with impunity,” the motion said.

In the lawsuit, the abortion chain also argued that a ruling in its favor could pressure the city to repeal or amend the ordinance and discourage people from filing lawsuits against abortionists, as the ordinance allows.

Hendrix, in his ruling last month, said he does not have the ability to stop private citizens from suing abortionists under the ordinance, according to the Avalanche-Journal.

“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,” Hendrix wrote.

He said the burden is on Planned Parenthood “to show an injury that is fairly traceable to the city’s conduct,” KJTV reports.

In a statement in June, 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.”

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, but 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 an unborn child.

It is this liability on which Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit primarily focuses. It 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.

More than 30 cities in Texas, Nebraska and Ohio have passed Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances, and others are considering action this summer.

Abortion activists have tried to stop the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort. Last year, pro-lifers won another victory when the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances in seven other Texas cities.