Federal judge won’t block Lubbock ban on abortion – Legal Reader
Planned Parenthood had filed a lawsuit to challenge the city’s voter-approved law that would allow people to sue anyone who helps a relative with an abortion.
A federal judge will not make an injunction against a referendum-approved abortion ban in the city of Lubbock, Texas.
The Texas Tribune reports that although Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the Abortion Ordinance, a district judge found the organization had no right to sue the city.
According to the Texas Tribune, the judge’s decision will be made just weeks after Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against Lubbock. The city, the Tribune notes, recently passed law banning abortion and allowing “the mother, father, grandparents, siblings and half-siblings of the unborn child” to access abortion services to anyone who helps a person get to sue for damages.
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“Due to the controversial May 1st ordinance, Lubbock residents are currently required to travel for access to a safe, legal abortion. This ban on abortion does not provide for any exceptions in the case of rape and incest. The abortion ban violates patients’ constitutional right to abortion and we are in court to block that ban on patients in Lubbock, ”said Ken Lambrecht, President and CEO of Texas Planned Parenthood, last month.
Interestingly, the “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” ordinance was originally rejected by Lubbock City Council, who found the ban was against state law and would likely cost the city a lot of money to defend. However, the ordinance was then passed on to voters who approved the measure in May.
In his ruling, Judge James Wesley Hendrix noted that the contours of the law made it difficult for Planned Parenthood to file their lawsuit in federal court. Because while Lubbock bans abortion services, the penalty for breaking the law is not enforced by the city – rather, private individuals are empowered to file lawsuits against individuals or organizations that facilitate access to abortion services.
“Since the ability to remedy a plaintiff’s damage by a positive decision is a prerequisite for the plaintiff’s standing – a possibility that is missing here – the court dismisses the case for lack of jurisdiction,” wrote Hendrix in his judgment.
The Texas Tribune notes that about 30 other cities have tried to ban abortion by declaring themselves “sanctuary cities for the unborn.” However, Lubbock is by far the largest provider.
While the American Civil Liberties Union has challenged a handful of East Texas cities with similar ordinances, its lawsuit has also been dropped.
KXAN.com adds that Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit could provide “a window into how courts can get complaints about recently passed Texas law that bans abortion after just six weeks.
However, the state ban on abortion in Texas is much stricter – while it doesn’t allow state officials to enforce the law, it does allow anyone to file a lawsuit against those who help with an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Someone helping another person with an abortion could be construed as driving a pregnant woman to an abortion clinic or paying to have the procedure completed. People don’t have to be related to the mother or even live in Texas to file lawsuit.
Lawsuit against the abortion ban in Lubbock dismissed when the ordinance comes into force
Lawsuit against Lubbock’s ban on abortion will be dismissed in court when the ordinance comes into effect
Planned Parenthood stops abortions in Lubbock unless permitted by law