After Lubbock residents enacted an ordinance to make the city a “sanctuary city for the unborn” in May local elections, Planned Parenthood sued the city. On Wednesday, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit and announced that he would not issue an injunction against a referendum-approved abortion ban. The ordinance went into effect Tuesday.
The “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinance was passed by voters in May, after being originally rejected by Lubbock City Council members who said it conflicted with state law and could be costly to defend. The ordinance passed on to voters and it took effect June 1.
The ordinance outlaws abortions from being performed—but notes that prohibition cannot be enforced unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade—and allows “an unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings, and half siblings” to sue anyone “that procures, performs, or aids and abets an abortion” other than the mother. Texas’ state abortion ban is stricter—while it does not allow state officials to enforce the law, it allows anyone to file a lawsuit against those who assist with an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Anyone involved in the procedure may be liable, including individuals who provide financial or logistical assistance.
Planned Parenthood CEO and President Ken Lambrecht argued that the ban on abortion “violates patients’ constitutional rights,” and vowed to block the ban for Lubbock patients. However, Judge James Wesley Hendrix’s dismissal potentially indicates a legal path for other cities outside of Texas to block the procedure within their borders.