One of the largest cities in Texas is now a "sanctuary city for the unborn" thanks to an ordinance approved by voters.
Voters in Lubbock, Texas – the 11th-most populous city in the state – overwhelmingly supported an initiative on Saturday prohibiting abortion within the city limits and making it a sanctuary city for the unborn. It passed, 62-38 percent.
Lubbock's population is about 250,000 – making it by far the largest city of about two dozen that have declared themselves "sanctuary cities" for the unborn.
"The Church of Jesus Christ banded together, stepped up to their role, their God-given role, and said we're not going to let babies be killed in our city," Jim Baxa of West Texas for Life said, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "All these churches banded together. There were 200 churches in the City of Lubbock working together to stand up for life. It's excellent."
Unlike previous cities that declared themselves a "sanctuary city for the unborn," Lubbock has abortion services.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas released a statement saying it was "carefully reviewing the impact of the ordinance" and "will make decisions soon regarding the availability of abortion services in Lubbock."
"Since opening the Planned Parenthood Lubbock health center last year, hundreds of patients have received affordable, expert reproductive healthcare services," the statement read. "... Access to healthcare services, including abortion, should not be determined by someone's zip code, especially when restrictions disproportionately impact low-income women and women of color. We remain committed to advocating for access to abortion for any Texan, including here in Lubbock."
West Texas for Life, on its website, called it a "landslide." The organization hopes it will serve as a model for other cities. It was placed on the ballot through a voter-led petition process.
Mayor Dan Pope told the Avalanche-Journal he expects it will go into effect around June 1.
Pro-choice groups could file a lawsuit against the ordinance.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ronald Martinez/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.