A Lubbock, Texas ordinance that bans abortion and received overwhelming approval by voters is facing a court challenge.
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Texas filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court, pointing to Supreme Court precedent in seeking to have the ordinance overturned as unconstitutional.
The ordinance, which passed earlier this month with the approval of 62 percent of voters, prohibits abortion within the city limits and declares Lubbock a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”
“Abortion at all times and at all stages of pregnancy is declared to be an act of murder,” the ordinance says.
Barring court action, it will go into effect on June 1. Planned Parenthood opened a clinic in Lubbock in recent months and began performing abortions there in April.
“The Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to have an abortion,” the lawsuit states. “... The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to abortion before viability. Binding precedent of the Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit establishes that laws banning pre-viability abortion are categorically unconstitutional.”
Because the ordinance “declares procuring, performing, aiding, or abetting abortion ‘unlawful’ and ‘murder,’” it “imposes substantial liability on anyone who procures, performs, aids, or abets an abortion in Lubbock,” the suit claims.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it would take up a case involving a Mississippi law that bans pre-viability abortions. The court’s action, though, likely won’t have any immediate impact on the Lubbock lawsuit. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case this fall.
According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Lubbock officials said this week the city would “vigorously defend this ordinance and look forward to presenting that defense in court.”
Texas Right to Life said it believes the ordinance will survive a court challenge.
“Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood, which profits off the death of preborn children, is throwing a hodgepodge of complaints at the court and seeing what they can get to stick,” said Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz. “In passing the ordinance, Lubbockites acted within their constitutional rights to self-governance and within the scope of current U.S. Supreme Court abortion jurisprudence. The ordinance language is solid and was carefully drafted in expectation of the abortion industry filing a lawsuit.”
Photo courtesy: Omar Lopez/Unsplash
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.