A Texas mayor who is under pressure to help stop a new Planned Parenthood from opening in his city recently compared the abortion business to starting a church.

The Federalist reports Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope hesitated to support a proposed “Sanctuary for the Unborn” ordinance even though he says he is pro-life.

State lawmakers and hundreds of local residents have been urging the city to pass the pro-life ordinance, which would outlaw abortion within the city limits. Their calls have been growing ever since the abortion chain announced plans to open a new facility in the city later this year.

In an interview Thursday on “The Chad Hasty Show,” however, Pope said he does not think the city should “be telling businesses what to do.”

“Telling Planned Parenthood they can’t come to Lubbock would be in some ways like telling United they couldn’t build another store or telling the Southern Baptist Convention they couldn’t do another church start in Lubbock,” Pope said.

The mayor said he is “unequivocally pro-life,” but he refused to commit to supporting the pro-life ordinance, according to the report.

“I need to see the ordinance in its final form. I can’t say that I would vote for the ordinance until I saw it,” he said.

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Pope said city leaders should focus on “the things we were elected to do,” such as taking care of city parks and streets and providing police and fire services.

According to the report, Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said the city lawyers are reviewing the proposed ordinance.

“Following the review, the City Council will be briefed in executive session on the proposed ordinance, its enforceability and whether this is appropriately a state or local matter based on the included language,” Atkinson wrote Friday. “Council members will then have the opportunity to instruct staff whether to place this ordinance on a future agenda for consideration.”

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 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.

Lubbock has not had an abortion facility since 2013 when a former Planned Parenthood closed because it could not comply with a state pro-life law. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned that law, and now, the abortion chain is planning to return.

On its website, Planned Parenthood said it plans to open its new facility in Lubbock later this year.

Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right to Life of East Texas and leader of the Sanctuary for the Unborn effort, told LifeNews that, right now, no unborn babies are being aborted in Lubbock, and the city can maintain the status quo by passing the ordinance.

“Lubbock passing this ordinance does not create an ‘undue burden’ on women seeking to get abortions because zero abortions are being performed here currently,” he said. “If some cities can prohibit plastic straws, big gulp drinks, the use of engine breaks on big trucks, the selling of alcohol, the number of dogs and cats owned … cities can prohibit abortion as well.”

Dickson said since the news broke about Lubbock, three other cities also have expressed interest in passing pro-life ordinances.

If the city council acts, Lubbock would be the 15th and largest city in Texas to pass a “Sanctuary for the Unborn” ordinance. The other cities are East Mountain, Whiteface, Wells, Big Spring, Rusk, Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Gilmer and Westbrook. Omaha also passed an ordinance but later retracted it and passed a non-enforceable resolution instead.

Abortion activists have tried to stop the pro-life effort, but, in May, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped a lawsuit challenging seven of the cities’ ordinances in a huge victory for pro-lifers.

ACTION ALERT: Contact mayor Dan Pope by going here.

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