Voters in Lubbock, Texas, who backed an ordinance that bans abortion, received two rounds of good news Tuesday: first when Planned Parenthood announced it was no longer performing abortions in the city and second when a federal judge dismissed the organization's lawsuit.
At issue is a voter-backed ordinance that prohibits abortion within the city limits and declares Lubbock a "Sanctuary City for the Unborn." The ordinance passed with 62 percent of the vote.
It went into effect Tuesday. Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said in a statement Tuesday that its Lubbock clinic was not performing abortions.
"Due to the controversial ordinance passed on May 1, Lubbock residents are currently required to travel to access a safe, legal abortion," the statement said, according to EverythingLubbock.com. The statement listed services the clinic currently performs but said abortions will be performed only "when legally permissible."
"The ban on abortion violates patients' constitutional right to an abortion and we're in court to block this ban for Lubbock patients," the statement said.
But Planned Parenthood did not receive the favorable ruling it desired.
Late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix dismissed Planned Parenthood's lawsuit against the city. Hendrix was nominated by President Trump.
"Because the ability to remedy a plaintiff's injury through a favorable decision is a prerequisite to a plaintiff's standing to sue – an ability absent here – the Court dismisses the case for lack of jurisdiction," Hendrix wrote, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
The state court, he argued, is a more appropriate venue for the lawsuit.
The ordinance could be overturned any day on appeal or in state court. For now, though, abortion is banned in Lubbock.
Texas Right to Life said the ordinance will "save countless lives in West Texas."
"Lubbock is by far the largest city in America to pass this ordinance which outlaws ALL elective abortions within the city limits, by imposing civil liabilities on abortion providers," Texas Right to Life said in a statement. "Lubbock is also the first city with a major university, Texas Tech University, and the first with an active abortion facility to pass the ordinance."
Lubbock's population is more than 250,000.
"Lubbock has proven that larger cities can indeed pass the ordinance and that meaningful action to defend the preborn can be taken even at the local level," Texas Right to Life said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jacek Sopotnicki
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.