All four City Council members voted in favor of the ordinance, which states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the City of Levelland, Texas.”
“It shall be unlawful,” the ordinance says, “for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the City of Levelland, Texas.”
Councilwoman Mary Engledow said the successful vote marks a “great day” for the city, adding: “We have done something that has been long overdue. Levelland is truly Blessed and by passing ‘Sanctuary City for the Unborn’ we will remain blessed.”
Mark Lee Dickson, the head with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, told Life News that the vote is “a victory for the unborn” as well as for women who received abortions when they were younger but regretted it.
She cited Levelland resident Kati Morris’s testimony. Morris, who helped lead the effort in Levelland, told Texas Scorecard: “I had an abortion many years ago, 30 miles away in Lubbock, and that abortion devastated my life … Abortion does not help women, it destroys women and takes the life of their children. What community needs that as an option for the people of their community?”
The nearby city of Lubbock approved a similar ordinance on May 1. Planned Parenthood challenged Lubbock’s ordinance in court, which was dismissed by U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix, who argued that Planned Parenthood lacked jurisdiction.
“Because plaintiffs fail to show, as they must, that they have Article III standing to sue the city, the Court dismisses the case for lack of jurisdiction,” the judge wrote last week. The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled.
Regarding Lubbock’s ordinance, Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone wrote in a letter (pdf) that it won’t violate Texas state law, suggesting that the nearly identical ordinance passed in Levelland could stand.
“In our view, Planned Parenthood has not shown that Lubbock’s ordinance is inconsistent with state law. To the extent that the Court finds state law to be ambiguous regarding the merits of Planned Parenthood’s claims, the Court should abstain from exercising jurisdiction,” Stone wrote.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, meanwhile, noted in a letter that “under Texas law, when a later-enacted statute clarifies the meaning of earlier statutes, it is ‘highly persuasive,’ even if it does not technically control.”