The ordinance, spearheaded by pro-lifers from Texas Tech University and statewide lobbying groups, would hold abortion providers liable to the families of the children they abort. The brainchild of Right to Life of East Texas, especially Director Mark Lee Dickson, the ordinance would also authorize the city to slap fines on the providers if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Yesterday, the city secretary announced verification was complete.
“On October 13, 2020… The petition was filed with the City Secretary, and contained 5,780 signatures. The requirement, for this initiative, is 3,651 valid signatures,” the city’s release reads.
“4,526 signatures were validated as ‘qualified.’ The petition is valid, and is certified as such… Lubbock City Council will have 30 days, from November 2, 2020, to hold a public hearing and to take final action by either adopting or rejecting the ordinance thus initiated by the petition.”
While 16 other towns have passed such initiatives, and in 15 they still wield legal heft, the Lubbock City Council would make history if it decides to pass the ordinance — and not just because Lubbock would become the biggest “sanctuary” in the nation.
While no abortion doctors yet have hung their shingles in towns like Rusk or Morton, a new Planned Parenthood (PP) facility just opened up in Lubbock. The town would be the first to penalize an extant company for violations of the fledgling pro-life ordinance.
The Lubbock branch of PP won’t provide abortions until 2021. Until then, Lubbock’s branch will focus on more post-abortion follow-up exams, referrals for abortion services, and sexual healthcare, treatments, and tests.
The ordinance, if passed, will test its teeth on a formidable opponent. PP is the nation’s largest provider of abortion services.
The ACLU sued some of the towns that had deemed themselves “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” because the ordinance, roughly equivalent from town to town, had classified providers of abortions as “criminal” organizations. The groups that sued eventually dropped the case and, like their own pro-life opponents, declared that they had won a victory.
The ordinance’s language has, so far, escaped more direct legal action aimed at the actual criminalization of abortion at the center of the law.
Like many local governmental leaders, the mayor, Dan Pope, thinks the ordinance could open up a new Pandora’s box in terms of a city’s authority.
“I am pro-life, I don’t want Planned Parenthood in our community, and I think there is a much better alternative to a problem pregnancy,” Pope said. “[But] the state constitution speaks very clearly that municipalities are not to create laws extending medical privileges, so that’s where I am in Planned Parenthood.”
Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly, who describes himself as pro-life, tried to kill a symbolic resolution affirming the life of the unborn just yesterday, claiming that the fight against abortion should take place in Congress. Some members of the Cedar Park City Council cited similar reasons for avoiding the ordinance that was presented to them.
If Lubbock’s council votes the ordinance down, the initiating committee “may require that such ordinance or resolution, either in its original or amended form, be submitted to a vote of the electors for adoption or repeal,” according to the city charter.
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