Lubbock, Texas, became the largest city in the United States to declare itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” the 26th in the nation to outlaw abortion.
Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative, wrote at Live Action News Sunday that the citizens of Lubbock voted to pass an ordinance Saturday, making abortion illegal within the city’s limits.
According to Dickson, the vote was 62.64 percent (21,400 votes) in favor of the ordinance and 37.54 percent (12,860 votes) opposed.
The ordinance 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 … It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Lubbock, Texas.
“The victory is significant to many as the City of Lubbock is the 11th most populated city in the State of Texas and the 83rd most populated city in the United States,” Dickson wrote. “Lubbock is also home to Texas Tech University, the seventh largest university by enrollment in the State of Texas.”
As Breitbart News reported in September, Lubbock’s mayor and city council considered the ordinance after sufficient signatures were gathered from Lubbock citizens to allow for a city council vote. The council ultimately voted 7-0 against the ordinance, reasoning that the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade is considered by many to be the “law of the land.”
However, since the vote of the council, as Dickson wrote, was “forced by the Initiative and Referendum process, this allowed for Lubbock residents to take the opportunity to get the ordinance on the ballot and to vote on the ordinance themselves on May 1, 2021.”
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said in a statement that “voters made it clear that Lubbock will become the next sanctuary city for the unborn.”
“I am encouraged by the significant voter turnout,” he added, elaborating:
On behalf of the City Council, our duty as elected officials is to begin the process in adding the approved ordinance to the City of Lubbock Code of Ordinances, as directed by the Lubbock City Charter. The Lubbock City Council, per state law, will canvass the votes from this election on Tuesday, May 11, with a likely ordinance effective date as early as June 1.
In a separate statement to Breitbart News, Dickson said:
We are grateful that the voters of Lubbock voted so overwhelmingly to outlaw abortion and affirm the sanctity of human life. We congratulate everyone who worked so hard to pass this ordinance and produce such a strong turnout for this historic election. Planned Parenthood and its supporters also worked hard to get their supporters to the polls, and we congratulate them on their efforts. Now that the voters have spoken, we expect Planned Parenthood to respect the outcome of this election and cease providing abortions at its Lubbock clinic.
Planned Parenthood began performing abortions at its Lubbock facility on April 15.
“Because the Lubbock Ordinance that outlaws abortion was passed after abortions were offered in Lubbock, this makes Lubbock the first city in the nation to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion in a city where abortions are already being committed,” Dickson wrote, noting:
If the City of Lubbock faces a lawsuit as a result of the ordinance, Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell, the former Solicitor General of Texas, has offered to represent the city at no cost to the city or taxpayers. In May 2020, when seven cities in East Texas that had passed the ordinance were sued by the ACLU, Mitchell represented the cities, and after three months, the ACLU withdrew its lawsuit. The lawsuit cost the cities and taxpayers nothing — and abortion remans outlawed in every city that was sued.
As Dickson explains, the ordinance contains two “enforcement mechanisms,” one public and one private.
“While the public enforcement mechanism is dependent upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the private enforcement mechanism is immediately enforceable,” he states. “It is not reliant on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”
The ordinance provides the private enforcement mechanism by stating:
Any person, corporation, or entity that commits an unlawful act … other than the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted, shall be liable in tort to the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings and half-siblings. The person or entity that committed the unlawful act shall be liable to each surviving relative of the aborted unborn child for: (a) Compensatory damages, including damages for emotional distress; (b) Punitive damages; and (c) Costs and attorneys’ fees.
In June 2019, Waskom, Texas, became the first city in the nation to ban abortion, declaring itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
Outside of Texas, two towns in Nebraska — Hayes Center and Blue Hill — have also passed ordinances to become “sanctuary cities for the unborn.”
KSNBLocal4 News reported that, while Blue Hill has no abortion clinic, its mayor, Keri Schunk, said the ordinance is preventative.
“It’s a lot easier now to take action than when it becomes a problem at our forefront, and then we don’t have the means or any of that to take action, and by that point lives have been lost and we can hopefully be pro-active, not re-active,” she said.
The ordinance outlawing abortion in Blue Hill carries a $500 fine for violators and, while that fine is less than the fine of $2,000 provided in the Lubbock Ordinance, the fine in the Blue Hill ordinance is immediately able to be imposed whereas the fine in the Lubbock ordinance cannot be immediately imposed.
“If someone violates, it will be brought to the attention of obviously the council and then we will proceed with our attorneys,” Schunk said.
Scout Richters of American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Nebraska Legal and Policy Counsel stated that “cities and villages cannot outlaw or criminalize abortion.”
“It is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution,” Richters said. “We are monitoring suspect local ordinances and exploring our options, including litigation if necessary.”
“The facts are clear, these restrictions fall hardest on women of color, poor women and women living in rural communities,” the statement continued. “These community leaders should be focused on the health of their community, not taking away people’s freedom to make the best decision for themselves and their families.”
Nevertheless, Dickson wrote, “The Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative continues at a rapid pace, as petitions to outlaw abortion are coming in from residents of more cities across the U.S.”