Lubbock, Texas, Jun 4, 2021 / 15:01 pm
A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood against a Texas city over new pro-life policies, saying Planned Parenthood does not have standing to sue the city.
Citizens in Lubbock had voted in early May to declare the city a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” drawing praise from the Catholic diocese’s bishop.
The ordinance declares performing or aiding in an abortion unlawful, but will not be enforced by the government until the Supreme Court overturns its 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, Roe v. Wade, as well as the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling which built on Roe.
Private citizens, especially family members of aborted babies, are allowed to bring lawsuits against people or businesses who violate the ordinance by performing or aiding in in abortion; mothers of aborted children are exempt from the penalties under the ordinance. The ordinance took effect June 1.
Planned Parenthood, which opened an abortion clinic in Lubbock last year, sued to block the ordinance in mid-May, calling it “unconstitutional.” The City of Lubbock said in a statement that it intends to “vigorously defend this ordinance and looks forward to presenting that defense in court.”
On June 1, the federal judge ruled that the ordinance allows for private citizens to sue others for violating the ordinance, rather than relying on the government to enforce the ordinance. As a result, the judge ruled that he could not prevent private parties from filing civil lawsuits in state court, the Texas Tribune reported.
The enforcement structure inherent to the Lubbock ordinance has not yet been thoroughly tested in the courts, the Texas Tribune noted. A newly-passed Texas state law, which is set to take effect in September, uses a similar method.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Lubbock, with a population of more than 250,000, is the largest city to adopt the sanctuary city policy, as well as the first to declare the ban while having an abortion provider within its boundaries.