A federal judge dismissed Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against the city of Lubbock, Texas, in which citizens voted to approve an ordinance that outlaws abortion within the city’s limits.
Late Tuesday night U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix dismissed the lawsuit brought by the abortion provider and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) due to a lack of jurisdiction.
The dismissal read:
Because plaintiffs fail to show, as they must, that they have Article III standing to sue the city, the Court dismisses the case for lack of jurisdiction.
Hendrix dismissed the lawsuit “without prejudice,” which allows Planned Parenthood to file a lawsuit again in the future.
As KFYO News Talk reported, however, the dismissal means it is still illegal for Planned Parenthood to perform abortions in its Lubbock clinic.
“LIFE WINS!” Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, celebrated on Facebook.
“We have said from the beginning that this ordinance is completely bulletproof from pre-enforcement lawsuits,” he added. “The Court’s ruling today is an emphatic vindication of that.”
LIFE WINS! The case brought by Planned Parenthood against the City of Lubbock has been dismissed! We have said from the…
The ordinance, which took effect Tuesday, June 1, was approved by the citizens of Lubbock on May 1, and states abortion is now illegal within the city’s limits.
Lubbock 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.
On Friday the judge expressed his reservations about whether his court had jurisdiction over the case, and did not immediately issue a ruling.
A letter obtained by Breitbart News from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance does not violate the law because a new bill, SB 8, recently signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), “clarifies that Lubbock’s ordinance is not preempted.”
While SB 8 does not take effect until September 1, Paxton wrote, “SB 8 is relevant even before its effective date.”
“Under Texas law, when a later-enacted statute clarifies the meaning of earlier statutes, it is ‘highly persuasive,’ even if it does not technically control,” he observed.
KFYO also reported that Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone wrote a letter stating the ordinance is not against state law.
Stone reportedly said that state law is “clear enough” for the court to reject Planned Parenthood’s claims.
Attorneys for the city of Lubbock asked to have the lawsuit thrown out, arguing the city cannot be sued because it would not be a party to any civil lawsuits generated by the ordinance.
The enforcement of the ordinance rests not with Lubbock police, but with private citizens who would file lawsuits if abortions take place within the city’s limits.
Dickson explained 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.
The case is Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services v. City of Lubbock, Texas, No. 5:21-cv-114 in United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.