Update on Planned Parenthood Lubbock
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The battle over Planned Parenthood’s abortion business in Lubbock, Texas, continues to rage, so we are bringing you the latest updates. For any reader who is not familiar with what is going on, here are links to our previous articles:

  1. November, 2020 – Background on PP in Lubbock and initial Sanctuary City efforts
  2. May 5, 2021 – Results of Lubbock citizens vote on becoming a Sanctuary City
  3. May 19, 2021 – Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against city

Planned Parenthood has stopped doing abortions in Lubbock because of the ordinance.

Newspapers have reported that “According to court documents, the nonprofit has asked the court to declare the ordinance invalid under both the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Texas law, and prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance.”

The judge hearing the case, Honorable James Wesley Hendrix, sent a request to the Texas attorney general’s office asking for an official opinion on whether the ordinance violates Texas law. Just yesterday (June 1) the news site, EverythingLubbock, reported that the Texas solicitor general, Judd E. Stone II, responded to the judge’s request in a letter dated May 31, 2021.

According to Stone’s 7-page letter, “The Office of the Attorney General believes that state law is clear enough for this Court to reject Planned Parenthood’s claims on the merits. But to the extent the Court finds state law ambiguous, it should abstain from resolving these state-law questions.”

Late in the day yesterday, Judge Hendrix dismissed the case against the city. In his ruling, the judge basically accepted the reasoning of the solicitor general. He said, “Because plaintiffs fail to show that any relief provided by this Court is likely to redress the injury at issue—citizen suits brought in state court—the Court lacks jurisdiction.”

Both the solicitor general and the judge mentioned several times in the letter and the ruling the fact that Lubbock is a “home rule” city. 

According to USlegal.com, “Home rule cities are those cities which have adopted a home rule charter for their local self-governance. The citizens of a home rule city are free to choose their own form of municipal government, choose between a large or small city council, fix the terms of office of council members, decide on the method of election of the mayor, provide for creation of more boards and commissions which they feel is essential for proper city functioning, etc. In the US, most of the states have home rule cities. For example, Michigan legislature has enacted the Home Rule City Act which provides the frame work by which a new city can become incorporated and have its own government, by adopting a city charter. In Texas, a city with more than 5,000 people can choose to become a home rule city. The home rule city can take any actions which are not prohibited by the state or federal laws and the constitutions of the US and Texas.”

STOPP will keep monitoring this situation and bring you updates. If the fact that Lubbock is a “home rule” city is critical to its ability to enforce the ordinance, it may spur interest in other cities or other municipalities across the nation adopting Home Rule as permitted by their state laws.