Ordinance Summary

Sanctuary City for the Unborn

Facts:

  • After the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, Texas never repealed statutes that outlaw and criminalize abortion (unless the mother’s life is in danger).
  • While the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, and other cases, may limit the ability of State officials to impose penalties on those who violate Texas abortion statutes, it does not erase the statute itself.
  • Roe v. Wade does not change the fact abortion is still defined as a criminal act under Texas Law. Only legislature can change.
  • The Texas murder statute defines the crime of “murder” to include any act that “intentionally or knowingly causes the death” of “an unborn child at every state of gestation from fertilization 'until birth.'
  • Although the murder statute exempts “lawful medical procedures” from the definition of murder, an abortion is not a “lawful medical procedure” under Texas law unless the life of the mother is in danger.

What the ordinance does:

  • Allows the City Council of Lubbock to supplement existing state-laws prohibiting abortion/murder with its own prohibitions on abortion.
  • Declares Lubbock, Texas to be a Sanctuary City for the Unborn.
  • Makes abortion an unlawful act in Lubbock. Makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an aborting in Lubbock.
  • Sets up both public enforcement, for when the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, and private enforcement of the ordinance.
  • When confirmed by a physician, takes into account the protection of the mother’s health, in the event of a life-threatening physical condition aggravated, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy.

Public Enforcement:

  • Provides for the public enforcement of the ordnance when Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are overruled by the Supreme Court, which will permit states and cities to punish anyone who violates an abortion (or other court action allows for the imposition of public enforcement).
  • Under no circumstance does the ordinance allow sanctions against the mother of the unborn child which was aborted.

Private Enforcement:

  • Any person, corporation, or entity which performs an abortion (other than the mother of the unborn child) shall be liable in tort to the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings, and half-siblings.
  • Damages include compensatory damages (including damages for emotional distress); punitive damages; and costs and attorney’s fees.
  • There is no statute of limitation for private enforcement.
  • Any private citizen of Texas may bring an action to enforce this ordinance (the private enforcement is not permissible by the City of Lubbock, any of its officers or employees, by any district or county attorney, or by an executive or administrative officer or employee of any state or local government.

Effective Date:

  • We the people, the citizens of Lubbock, gathered enough signatures to force a public vote on the ordinance. If approved by voters, the city would have to adopt the ordinance, which would be effective immediately .

Will women whose lives are at risk be denied an abortion?

The Ordinance contains an exception for the life of the mother. This can be found in Section D3 which says, “It shall be an affirmative defense to the unlawful acts described in Sections D(1) and D(2) if the abortion was in response to a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

 

Will women be fined for having abortions?

The Ordinance does not penalize the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted. As it states in Section E3, “Under no circumstance may the penalty described in Section E(1) be imposed on the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted."