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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Texas city votes to ban abortion


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Abortion providers in Lubbock, Texas now risk being prosecuted for carrying out their work, after voters in the city backed a move to make their area a “sanctuary city for the unborn”.

The ballot, which saw people vote to back the abortion ban 62 per cent to 38 per cent, seeks to outlaw abortion in the city limits – allowing residents to sue abortion providers.

But abortion providers have already declared they will not be following the ordinance – which does not change the legal precedent set by Supreme Court case Roe v Wade, but instead relies on private citizens bringing lawsuits against them.

Given the existing federal rules around abortion, it is likely that any legal challenges to abortion providers in Lubbock would face an uphill battle.

“We want Lubbock residents to know: Our doors are open and we will continue to advocate for our patients, no matter what,” Sarah Wheat, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, told the Texas Tribune.

The ordinance also allows Lubbock residents to sue those who have assisted people in obtaining an abortion, eg. someone who has driven a friend or relative to an abortion provider.

The city is not the first in the US to attempt to ban abortion, but the Lubbock case has attracted great interest because of the city’s size – and the fact that it is home to a branch of Planned Parenthood, whose spokesperson told the Tribune it was committed to expanding access to abortion and would continue to do so in Lubbock.

However, campaigners who backed the measure suggested abortion providers in the city should abide by the majority vote.

“Planned Parenthood and its supporters also worked hard to get their supporters to the polls, and we congratulate them on their efforts,” Pastor Mark Lee Dickson, who campaigned for the ordinance, told the Tribune. “Now that the voters have spoken, we expect Planned Parenthood to respect the outcome of this election and cease providing abortions at its Lubbock clinic.”

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