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A Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenging an abortion ban in the city of Lubbock, Texas, has been dismissed in federal court on Tuesday due to “lack of jurisdiction.”
Judge James Wesley Hendrix of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas declared that Planned Parenthood does not have standing to sue the city of Lubbock, because “the ability to remedy a plaintiff’s injury through a favorable decision” is “absent.”
On May 1, voters in Lubbock passed a “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinance by about 62% to 37%, stating, “Abortion at all times and at all stages of pregnancy is declared to be an act of murder.”
The “sanctuary city” ordinance declares it unlawful “to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the City of Lubbock, Texas,” or “to knowingly aid or abet” such an abortion.
Providing transportation to an abortion facility, giving instructions on how to self-administer an abortion, and helping to pay for an abortion all fall under the ordinance’s definition of aiding an abortion.
While the ordinance allows surviving relatives of aborted preborn babies to sue abortion providers for punitive and compensatory damages, including for emotional distress, penalties can “under no circumstance” be “imposed on the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted.”
No exceptions are made for facilitating abortions of children conceived as a result of rape or incest, but under the ordinance, “an act doesn’t qualify as an abortion if it is done to save the life of the mother, remove a fetus whose death was the result of a miscarriage or remove an ectopic pregnancy,” reported KXAN.
In addition, only private citizens — “not state or local actors” — may impose or threaten to impose the stated penalty, until the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark pro-abortion decisions Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are overruled, or other conditions are met.
Lubbock, with a population of about 259,000 people, is the largest city in the United States to ban abortion. While other cities in Texas and a few other states have passed similar “pro-life sanctuary” ordinances, Lubbock is the only town with such an ordinance to have an active abortion clinic.
In fact, the initiative to create the ordinance was spurred on by Planned Parenthood’s announcement that it would open an abortion center in the city. State Sen. Charles Perry circulated a petition in response to the announcement, calling on the Lubbock City Council to declare their city a sanctuary for the unborn.
Perry said during the opening prayer for a news conference last year, “I want us to be able to say as a community from Lubbock, Texas, that we stood against the killing of an innocent baby.”
Last year, the Lubbock city council and Mayor Dan Pope, who has compared Planned Parenthood centers to churches, voted unanimously against the measure.
However, “Since the vote of the council was forced by the Initiative and Referendum process, this allowed for Lubbock residents to take the opportunity to get the ordinance on the ballot and to vote on the ordinance themselves on May 1, 2021,” explained Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative.
“The city of Lubbock said in a news release it would continue to ‘vigorously defend the ordinance’ if additional litigation was filed,” reported the Texas Tribune.