Lubbock, Texas, became a “sanctuary city for the unborn” after residents voted to outlaw abortion completely — making it the 24th city in Texas to do so.
“Today is a victory for life and proof that the silent majority will still stand up for its Christian conservative values,” Republican state Rep. Dustin Burrows said after the Saturday vote.
Lubbock voters overwhelmingly supported Proposition A, which prohibits abortions without any exceptions, as 62% voted in its favor, and 38% of voters opposed it. It is the largest city in Texas to pass such a measure.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the City of Lubbock, Texas,” the ordinance reads.
Its passage comes about one year after Planned Parenthood opened a clinic in the city, spurring many anti-abortion members of the community to band together to push back on the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Their plan followed a winning formula other Texas cities used to outlaw abortion. Starting in Waskom in 2019, Texas cities have put a proposition to prohibit abortions to a vote. Each time such a proposition passes, the city declares itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has filed lawsuits in previous instances where a Texas city voted to outlaw abortion.
The “ACLU has a long history of challenging unconstitutional abortion bans and will continue to fight to protect the fundamental rights of the people of Lubbock,” said Drucilla Tigner, an organization policy and advocacy strategist.
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman echoed Tigner’s comments, saying the organization fully intends to continue serving the city’s residents.
“We want Lubbock residents to know: Our doors are open, and we will continue to advocate for our patients, no matter what,” said Greater Texas Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Sarah Wheat.
The Lubbock ordinance goes further than just outlawing abortion, as it also allows a family member of a person who received an abortion to sue the provider. The family member can also sue any individual who assisted the person in getting an abortion.
It is unclear when the ordinance will go into effect, and it will not be enforced by the government. Execution of the ordinance relies almost entirely on private citizens filing lawsuits against violators. The legal challenges could ultimately force the United States Supreme Court to hear a case on the issue.
“As long as Roe is good law, I think these suits will ultimately fail, but it [could make] abortion providers … expend money for attorneys fees, and it takes time,” said Texas Tech University constitutional law professor Richard D. Rosen.