A Texas city where a new Planned Parenthood just opened rejected an ordinance Tuesday that would ban abortions within city limits.

Despite strong public support for the Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance, the Lubbock City Council voted against it in a 0-7 vote, KAMC News reports.

Lubbock residents made it clear to council members that they do not want an abortion business in their city during more than four hours of public comment Tuesday, KFYO News Talk Radio reports.

“Over 150 people signed up to speak at the city council meeting,” said Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and leader of the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort. “An overwhelming majority of those who spoke were in favor of the ordinance.”

The ordinance recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. It prohibits abortions within city limits and prevents abortion businesses from opening there. The ordinance also penalizes abortionists for aborting unborn babies, but it does not penalize women who seek or have abortions. So far, 16 Texas cities have adopted Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances.

In Lubbock, however, Mayor Dan Pope and the city council members did not want to consider the ordinance. It took a citizen petition to force the council to vote on it. That petition garnered 5,780 signatures — more than 2,000 more than required, according to Texas Scorecard.

During the meeting, Pope argued against the amendment, saying abortion is not a city government issue, according to KFYO.

“I don’t believe that the regulation of abortion is a municipal issue. If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, then the Tenth Amendment dictates that abortion would be regulated at the state level,” he said.

Other council members expressed concerns about legal challenges. According to Texas Right to Life, the city council received inaccurate legal advice about the ordinance from a law firm with ties to Planned Parenthood.

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Here’s more from the report:

District 5 Councilman Randy Christian said he is pro-life, but he couldn’t support the proposed ordinance because it would be in conflict of federal law. He noted that as part of the citizen petition process for proposed ordinances, the proposed ordinance would go to a vote of Lubbock’s citizens, if rejected by the council. Councilman Christian said he favored having a vote of the citizens concerning the ordinance, rather than just having a vote of the council. He also said that if the council approved the ordinance, it would open the city to legal action, “… unconstitutional, unenforceable and costly,” Christian said.

District 4 Councilman Steve Massengale said he disagreed with the “political stunting” of state elected officials concerning the proposed ordinance. District 28 State Senator Charles Perry (R- Lubbock) spoke during the citizen comments portion of Tuesday’s meeting, stating he supported the proposed ordinance.

Abortion activists have tried to stop the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, but, in May, pro-lifers won a legal victory when the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging the ordinance in seven other Texas cities.

Dickson said the ordinance was written to withstand a legal challenge. It includes a public enforcement mechanism and a private enforcement mechanism. 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.

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.

Dickson said the fight for life in Lubbock is not over. Because of the citizen petition, the ordinance can be placed on the ballot for a vote in an upcoming election, he said.

“… the City Council of Lubbock has spoken: unborn children can be murdered in Lubbock, Texas,” he wrote on Facebook after the meeting. “However, do not think for one moment that this is over.”

The Texas cities that have passed Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinances are MortonNew HomeEast MountainWhiteface, Wells, Big SpringRuskWaskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Gilmer and Westbrook. Omaha also passed an ordinance but later retracted it and passed a non-enforceable resolution instead.

ACTION ALERT: Contact the Lubbock City Council.

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