Planned Parenthood lawsuit against City of Lubbock dismissed by court

District Judge James Wesley Hendrix has dismissed a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood on the grounds of “lack of jurisdiction.”

Following a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood against the City of Lubbock regarding the “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” ordinance in May, the judge says Planned Parenthood “has the burden to show an injury that is fairly traceable to the city’s conduct.”

According to documents filed late Tuesday, “Plaintiffs [Planned Parenthood] allege the ordinance is invalid because it violates federal constitutional rights, could not validly create civil liability between private parties, and is preempted by state law.”

Judge Hendrix found otherwise; his order to throw out the lawsuit takes issue with the health care provider’s claims that he has the ability to stop the ordinance from allowing private citizens to file suit against other private entities.

“The U.S. Constitution and binding precedent make clear that federal courts do not exist to render advisory opinions on a law’s validity. Rather, this Court is limited to resolving actual cases and controversies.”

At the end of his order, Judge Hendrix notes Texas courts may take up similar lawsuits and they may dispute his decision to dismiss the case; he says he will abstain from those courts’ decisions and defer to their judgments. Once the question of private enforcement is resolved, Judge Hendrix writes he would allow “any remaining federal claim” to be raised in his court.

As of June 1, 2021, Planned Parenthood in Lubbock has stopped abortions after voters approved an ordinance on May 1 aimed at banning abortions. This includes providing the abortion pill. However, the health center will provide abortion services when legally permissible; which means only when it is a medical emergency.

“Due to the controversial ordinance passed on May 1, Lubbock residents are currently required to travel to access a safe, legal abortion. This ban on abortions provides no exemptions, even in cases of rape and incest. The ban on abortion violates patients’ constitutional right to an abortion and we’re in court to block this ban for Lubbock patients,” said Ken Lambrecht, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas in a statement.

“The Lubbock abortion ban creates significant barriers and the need to travel a minimum 600-mile round trip or out of state for patients seeking to obtain an abortion,” officials said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood officials say, “the health center doors are open to provide high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare services including breast and cervical cancer screenings; HIV tests; testing  and  treatment for  STIs;  PrEP  and PEP  medication to  prevent  HIV;  a full range of FDA-approved  birth control  (including  IUDs  and implants);  treatment  for  urinary  tract  and vaginal infections;  annual  well  visits;  HPV  vaccines,  flu vaccines,  and other essential healthcare  services.  Abortion services will be provided when legally permissible.”

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