Early voting is underway in municipal elections all across the state of Texas. In Lubbock, voters who show up to the polls will be presented with an ordinance known as Proposition A that would officially establish the city as “sanctuary city for the unborn” and ban abortion.
Not only would the ordinance ban abortion in the city limits, it would also make it, “at all times and at all stages of pregnancy,” murder unless it threatened the life of the mother. The ordinance would also make it possible for a relative of the aborted fetus to sue the mother, and anybody involved in obtaining an abortion.
Currently, with the Supreme Court rulings of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, any “sanctuary city for the unborn” law is unconstitutional, and unenforceable. Drucilla Tigner, a policy and advocacy strategist of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told Everything Lubbock that the organization was still monitoring the vote. “The proposal is a blatantly unconstitutional law that would insert the city of Lubbock into private medical decisions best made by families,” said Tigner.
Last year, a Planned Parenthood clinic re-opened in Lubbock after closing in 2013 following a slew of anti-abortion regulations that passed in Texas. The clinic began offering abortion services just a few days ago as early voting was beginning in Lubbock.
Several smaller cities without abortion clinics have adopted “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinances. Lubbock would become the largest city, and the only one with an abortion clinic, if the ordinance passed.
In November of last year, the Lubbock city council unanimously voted down the same “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinance in a 7-0 decision. Anti-choice activists, largely organized by the Texas Right to Life PAC, had obtained enough signatures on a petition to force the vote on the city council. The same anti-choice groups mobilized enough signatures to require Lubbock to hold a citywide election on the ordinance.
One of the chief proponents of the ordinance is State Senator Charles Perry. Perry is also the author of Senate Bill 29, which would ban transgender athletes from participating in a sports league consistent with their identity. Several organizations, including the NCAA, have denounced that legislation.
In the Texas legislature, Republicans are working hard to pass legislation that would restrict access to abortion. There are numerous bills making their way through both chambers, including one that would trigger a statewide abortion ban in the event Roe v. Wade was overturned. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, currently under investigation by the FBI for abuse of office and bribery, also recently celebrated a Fifth Circuit ruling to defund Planned Parenthood.
For now, all eyes are on Lubbock and whether or not voters in the city will support or reject Proposition A. Aurora Farthing, from the group Protect Lubbock Taxpayers is firmly opposed to the ordinance.
“If the state legislators that support this ordinance want to enact this type of law, they should do so in the state legislature. It is our view that the citizens of Lubbock are being used as pawns by the proponents of this ordinance,” said Farthing.
Voters in Lubbock have until May 1 to decide whether or not they agree with Farthing.
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