After a since-overturned state law forced Planned Parenthood to close its Lubbock facility in 2013, the organization announced its plans at the end of last July to return and posted several job listings on their website.
In response, state Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) began circulating a petition to keep Planned Parenthood out of Lubbock and wrote Mayor Dan Pope asking him to pass an ordinance authored by Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life East Texas, that would outlaw abortion in town.
“Passing an ordinance designating Lubbock as a Sanctuary City for the Unborn will help to continue the Texas belief that life begins at conception, while also protecting the safety of mothers,” Perry wrote in the letter, cosigned by state representatives Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) and John Frullo (R-Lubbock).
City councils in fourteen other Texas cities have passed such ordinances, which argue that state law still outlaws abortion unless the pregnancy dangers the mother’s life.
The Lubbock ordinance, which if passed would effectively outlaw abortion within city limits, states, “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 Supreme Court’s pronouncements in Roe v. Wade and subsequent cases may limit the ability of State officials to impose penalties on those who violate the Texas abortion statutes, but they do not veto or erase the statutes themselves, which continue to exist as the law of Texas until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them,” it continues.
Planned Parenthood has kept mum about plans for the new facility, citing pro-life backlash for their caution.
“In light of the history of harassment by extremists opposed to Planned Parenthood’s mission, it is our ongoing policy to not comment on health center projects for security reasons until they are completed,” an online statement from the organization reads. “Additional information, including health center opening date, location, and list of health services, will be shared when finalized.”
Planned Parenthood did state that their Lubbock facility will provide “breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests, testing and treatment for STIs, a full range birth control (including IUDs and implants), PrEP and PEP medication to prevent HIV transmission, treatment for urinary tract and vaginal infections, annual well checks,” and abortion services “at a later date.”
The ordinance would hold the abortion provider or doctor liable in tort to the family of the unborn child, allowing individuals to sue the providers.
Dickson, who faced a defamation lawsuit from abortion advocacy group Lilith Fund for calling abortion murder, maintains that Roe v. Wade is incapable of erasing or deleting statutes that outlaw the procedure — and those statutes continue to exist as laws until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them.
“The Supreme Court doesn’t make laws, they issue opinions,” Dickson told The Texan. “If Roe v. Wade was the law of the land, then why is Joe Biden saying he’ll make it federal law if elected?”
Dickson went on to tell how some Texas Tech student groups have joined his efforts to see Lubbock pass the ordinance, such as Raiders Defending Life and the Texas Tech chapter of the statewide group Young Conservatives of Texas.
After 2013 saw the closure of several Planned Parenthood facilities in west Texas, an anonymous $9 million donation prompted the organization to open a facility in El Paso in 2018, spearheading their westward expansion’s revival.
“I am hopeful that the mayor and the city council share the belief of many of their residents that the murder of innocent children in Lubbock would be a horrible thing. And I pray that they will pass this ordinance because they share those values,” Dickson said.
“There’s an opportunity for the mayor and the city council to prevent the murder of innocent, unborn children in their city. Will they do it, or will they not? That’s to be determined.”
Editor’s Note: The piece has been updated with an additional quote from the ordinance.
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