The City of Lubbock in Texas is at the center of a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood after the city declared itself a "sanctuary city for the unborn" through an ordinance that bans abortion. The ordinance, which vilifies abortion at all stages of pregnancy as "an act of murder," was passed with a vote of 62% in favor and 38% against.
According to the Washington Post, proponents of the "sanctuary city for the unborn" measure believed that "we fear God, view the intentional shedding of the blood of unborn children to be an inconceivably wicked action, and we believe that we all have a responsibility to protect the lives of the smallest and most vulnerable humans among us." Lubbock's Republican Sen. Charles Perry was among the signatories in a letter demanding that the measure be passed. The ordinance is set to go into effect on June 1.
Now, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services is fighting back, filing a lawsuit in federal court on Monday against the city of Lubbock, Texas, the Christian Post reported.
According to the lawsuit, the "sanctuary city for the unborn" ordinance is "unconstitutional" because the measure "imposes substantial liability on anyone who procures, performs, aids, or abets an abortion in Lubbock, be it a doctor, nurse, relative, friend, or stranger."
Planned Parenthood claims that the ordinance prevents abortion providers from rendering their services in Lubbock and will "seriously impede access to abortion." The abortion provider claimed that the measure also "violates the constitutional right to abortion" and impedes their "mission to provide comprehensive reproductive health care" to women.
City officials responded to the Planned Parenthood lawsuit, promising to "vigorously defend this ordinance" in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division. The Lubbock ordinance that ensures a "sanctuary city for the unborn" bans abortions in most cases, except when the mother's life is in danger. It also gives any private citizen of Texas or a family member of a woman who had an abortion to sue the abortion provider or any individual who assisted in the process, Reuters reported.
Up to five abortion-related bills were approved by Texas legislature, including SB 8 or the Texas Heartbeat Act, which according to CBS News is on its way to Texas Governor Greg Abbott's desk for signature. While heartbeat bills have been passed in more than 10 other states, Texas' measure is unique as it does not allow a state or local government entity to enforce it. Instead, private citizens are given the right to file a case against abortion providers themselves, except the women who have the abortion.
"It is very encouraging that with the Texas Heartbeat Bill, you've seen Republicans and Democrats come together on this issue with bipartisan support," Texas Values' Jonathan Saenz commented. "If a heartbeat is detected, human life should be protected."
Lubbock's decision to become the nation's largest sanctuary city for the unborn was praised by many, one of whom is the evangelist Franklin Graham. The Reverend, who leads Samaritan's Purse, noted that the Texas city's decision is important considering the number of babies killed via abortion.
"Abortion is the number one killer. If it were anything else, we would be declaring a state of emergency, calling a press conference, or locking down. Thank you Lubbock and other cities that are taking this step to be a sanctuary for life. Let's support them, and let's work to defend life," Graham said in a Facebook post thanking Lubbock for the decision.