On Saturday May 1, the residents of Lubbock, Texas will decide if their city will protect unborn babies by banning abortions through a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance.

If the ballot measure passes, Lubbock would become the largest city in America – and the first with an abortion facility – to prohibit abortions within city limits.

Texas Tribune reports the special election has “sparked a groundswell of activism” in the city from pro-lifers and abortion activists alike.

Pro-life advocates are especially motivated after a Planned Parenthood facility opened in Lubbock last fall and began aborting unborn babies earlier this month.

“They’re murdering babies here in our city,” Jim Baxa of West Texas for Life told the Tribune. “We need to stop that.”

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In November, the Lubbock City Council rejected the pro-life ordinance, but because of a citizen-led petition, residents will have the opportunity to approve the ordinance Saturday on the election ballot.

Many Lubbock churches have become involved in the effort to protect unborn babies. Pastor David Wilson of Southcrest Baptist Church said it is encouraging to see so many Christians of various denominations unite for the cause.

“If this was a tax issue, the churches wouldn’t be involved in this, obviously,” he told the news outlet. “But moral issue has to do with life, and we believe that life is a gift from God.”

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocacy groups are trying to persuade Lubbock to reject the ordinance by going door to door and calling voters, according to the report.

But Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right to Life of East Texas and leader of the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, said the opposition has been misleading voters. He said the ordinance clearly states that exceptions are allowed if the mother’s life is at risk, and miscarriages are not abortions.

Emphasizing that the ordinance affirms and protects life, Dickson told LifeNews, “This vote may very well be the most important vote the citizens of Lubbock will ever cast in their lifetime.”

Local pro-life leaders noted that most of their support has come from city residents while abortion activists largely are relying on outside donations to support their efforts to defeat the ordinance.

Research by local pro-life advocate David McCay found that the vast majority of donations to Project Destiny Lubbock, the pro-life nonprofit created to support a “yes” vote on the ordinance, came from Lubbock citizens. In contrast, almost all of the money donated to the pro-abortion Lubbock Coalition For Healthcare Access came from other cities and states, according to public documents on political contributions that both organizations submitted to the city.

According to the documents, the pro-life group received $120,199 in donations as of April 1, and Lubbock citizens donated $111,549 of the total. In contrast, the pro-abortion coalition reported $121,047.63 in donations as of April 1, only $1,650 of which was donated by Lubbock citizens, according to the documents. The rest was donated by pro-abortion groups and individuals in New York, Saint Louis, Baltimore, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and other Texas cities.

Dickson said the people of Lubbock are supporting mothers and babies in need as well as the ordinance. For example, on Tuesday, he said the pro-life club Raiders Defending Life at Texas Tech University gave out 14 scholarships to pregnant and parenting students.

“Friends, THIS is what represents the beliefs and values of Lubbock, Texas!” he said.

According to the local news, Lubbock voters will be asked to approve the following language on the ballot: “The code of ordinances of the City of Lubbock shall be amended by enacting an ordinance outlawing abortion within the City of Lubbock, declaring Lubbock a sanctuary city for the unborn, making various provision and findings, providing for severability, repealing conflicting ordinances, and establishing an effective date.”

The proposed 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.

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.

Previously, 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.

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.

Other cities that have passed pro-life ordinances include Blue Hill and Hayes Center in Nebraska, and Murchison, GormanCarbonGrapelandNew HomeEast MountainWhitefaceWellsBig SpringRuskWaskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Gilmer and Westbrook in Texas. Pro-lifers in Naples, Florida also are urging their city leaders to pass a Sanctuary for the Unborn ordinance.

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