LUBBOCK, Texas — Planned Parenthood dropped its appeal Thursday against the City of Lubbock. An “unopposed motion to dismiss” was filed on the basis that the appeals case was not that far along (“no briefs have yet been filed in this appeal”).
“Plaintiffs-appellants [Planned Parenthood] knowingly and voluntarily withdraw this appeal,” court records said. Planned Parenthood and the city will “bear their own costs” for the appeal and for the original lawsuit filed in federal district court.
On May 1, 2021, Lubbock voters approved Proposition A, making Lubbock a “sanctuary city for the unborn” by a vote of 62.47% to 37.53%. Planned Parenthood (more specifically, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Surgical Health Services, and G. Sealy Massingill, M.D.) sued on constitutional grounds. But the federal district judge in Lubbock tossed out the lawsuit on a legal technicality — lack of jurisdiction.
“Pro-Life Victory!” Lubbock’s State Representative Dustin Burrows said Friday morning on social media. “In a major and historic victory for the right to life, Planned Parenthood is dropping its lawsuit over the city of Lubbock’s abortion ban, ensuring that the ordinance will remain in effect!”
State Senator Charles Perry of Lubbock, who supported the ordinance and played a major role in getting it passed, said, “I congratulate the City and the people of Lubbock on this historic victory—and for becoming the first jurisdiction in the United States to successfully defend an abortion ban in court since Roe v. Wade. This is an answer to so many of our prayers.”
Right to Life East Texas said, “The Lubbock ordinance marks the first time that an abortion ban has survived court challenge in the United States since Roe v. Wade.”
Right to Life also said, “The ordinance is structured in a manner similar to the Texas Heartbeat Act, which outlaws abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable but prohibits state officials from enforcing the law, instead authorizing private citizens to sue those who perform or aid or abet illegal abortions.”
Mark Lee Dickson, a pro-life activist who, like Senator Perry, played a major role in the passage of the Lubbock ordinance, said, “Other cities working on a citizen petition initiative like Lubbock are: San Angelo, Abilene, Lindale, and Plainview, Texas. San Angelo and Lindale turned in their signatures last week.”
Texas and the federal government are still fighting over the issue of abortion in the federal court system. A relatively new state law makes most abortions in Texas illegal, and the federal government has challenged it on constitutional grounds.
The ordinance in Lubbock recognizes that because of federal case law, stopping all abortion in Lubbock may not be legally possible. However, the ordinance declares abortions to be illegal and creates a mechanism to sue abortion providers for any abortion done in Lubbock.
In the month prior to the passage of the ordinance, Planned Parenthood began to offer abortion services at its clinic in Lubbock. Those abortions were stopped after passage of Proposition A.
Below is a statement from Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas President & CEO, Ken Lambrecht:
“While we have determined not to move forward with this appeal, this is not the end of our fight in Lubbock, and we continue to consider all legal options to challenge this unconstitutional local ban. Planned Parenthood remains committed to access in Lubbock and beyond. As a trusted community resource, our Lubbock Health Center is open and actively serving patients in need of expert, affordable healthcare, including cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and other essential services. We know people in Lubbock and throughout Texas face insurmountable barriers to accessing abortion due to S.B. 8, the state’s near-total abortion ban, which has been in effect for nearly five months now. But it is clear we cannot depend on the courts to protect our constitutional rights, as our challenge to S.B. 8 continues to languish with no end in sight and abortion access hangs by a thread across the country.”