Voters in Lubbock, Texas sent a strong message to the abortion industry on Saturday when they overwhelmingly approved a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance on the election ballot.
Residents voted 62 percent in favor of the pro-life ordinance, which outlaws abortions within city limits, according to unofficial election results, Fox 44 News reports.
Lubbock (population 258,862) is the largest city in America to pass the ordinance, joining 25 other cities in Texas and Nebraska.
“We are grateful that the voters of Lubbock voted so overwhelmingly to outlaw abortion and affirm the sanctity of human life,” Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, told LifeNews. “We congratulate everyone who worked so hard to pass this ordinance and produce such a strong turnout for this historic election.”
City residents, pro-life advocates and local churches worked together to pass the ordinance after Planned Parenthood opened an abortion facility in Lubbock last fall. In November, the Lubbock City Council rejected the pro-life ordinance, but residents organized a petition to have the ordinance placed on the election ballot instead.
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“The Church of Jesus Christ banded together, stepped up to their role, their God-given role, and said we’re not going to let babies be killed in our city,” Jim Baxa of West Texas for Life told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
The vote, and similar pro-life ballot measures in other states, demonstrate that Americans want unborn babies to be protected from abortion. The results also disprove the abortion industry’s claims about strong public support for Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand.
Now that the ordinance has passed, pro-lifers are urging Planned Parenthood to abide by Lubbock voters’ decision and stop doing abortions in their city.
“Planned Parenthood and its supporters also worked hard to get their supporters to the polls, and we congratulate them on their efforts,” Dickson said. “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.”
But Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Sarah Wheat suggested that they plan to do the opposite, KSAT 12 reports.
“We are committed to expanding access to abortion and will provide abortion services when possible in Lubbock,” Wheat said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas also issued a statement that hinted at a possible lawsuit.
“The ACLU has a long history of challenging unconstitutional abortion bans and will continue to fight to protect the fundamental rights of the people of Lubbock,” said Drucilla Tigner, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas.
But abortion is not a “right” and the residents of Lubbock made that clear when they voted to protect the rights of unborn babies on Saturday.
The Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. It prohibits abortions within city limits and outlines legal consequences for abortionists who abort unborn babies. It does not penalize women who seek or have abortions, and it does not prohibit abortions when the mother’s life is at risk.
“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 ordinance states.
It also defines an abortion as “the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.”
The ordinance has both public and private enforcement mechanisms. The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who helps with an abortion within city limits. However, it cannot be enforced until Roe v. Wade is overturned.
However, the private enforcement mechanism is immediate. It makes abortionists and those who help them “liable in tort to a surviving relative of the aborted unborn child, including the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings or half-siblings,” meaning the abortionist can be sued for aborting the unborn child.
Along with voting to outlaw abortions, Dickson said the people of Lubbock also are supporting mothers and babies in need. For example, last week, he said the pro-life club Raiders Defending Life at Texas Tech University Campus gave out 14 scholarships to pregnant and parenting students on campus.
“Friends, THIS is what represents the beliefs and values of Lubbock, Texas!” he said.
To-date, 25 other cities in Texas and Nebraska also have passed Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances, and more are considering them this spring.
Abortion activists have tried to stop the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, but, last year, pro-lifers won a victory when the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances in seven other Texas cities.