City of Lubbock ‘pleased’ after Planned Parenthood lawsuit dismissed
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - 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.
The City of Lubbock released the following statement Wednesday:
The City has reviewed the June 1 Court Order in the litigation challenging Lubbock’s Sanctuary City of the Unborn ordinance and is pleased with the result. Judge Hendrix issued a thorough and well-reasoned opinion in dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction, which is a threshold consideration for any court to make respecting a lawsuit before it. The City is presently unaware of the plaintiffs’ intentions as to whether an appeal will be filed or whether additional lawsuits will be filed against the City. Nevertheless, the City will continue to vigorously defend the ordinance in any litigation that may be filed.
The City of Lubbock is represented by Heather Hacker and Andrew Stephens of Hacker Stephens LLP of Austin, and Fernando Bustos of the Bustos Law Firm, P.C. of Lubbock.
ACLU of Texas and Planned Parenthood responded to the court dismissing the lawsuit as well.
The following statement can be attributed to Adriana Piñon, policy counsel and senior staff attorney of the ACLU of Texas:
“Any ordinance that attempts to ban abortion is a violation of the constitutionally protected rights of all people — no matter how it is dressed up. We are disappointed that the court refused to hear the substance of our lawsuit, failing in its responsibility to ensure our rights are protected. As a result, people will not be able to access essential health care in Lubbock. In spite of this ruling, we will continue to fight to protect the rights of all Texans.”
Statement from Ken Lambrecht, president & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas:
“Lubbock’s controversial new ban on abortion violates patients’ constitutional rights, which we will continue to stand up for with all of our resources. In the meantime, our Lubbock health center doors are open for high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care 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) and other essential healthcare services. All patients are welcome at Planned Parenthood in Lubbock regardless of insurance or documentation status, your income level, where you live or who you love.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“The Lubbock city ordinance banning abortion is unconstitional, full stop. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Texas will continue fighting to ensure that every person in Lubbock has access to the health care they need and deserve, including abortion. We have seen these types of politically-motivated and cruel attacks on reproductive freedom in Texas and across the country disportionately impact communities of color and people with low incomes — who have long struggled to obtain basic health care. Despite this disappointing ruling, the fight isn’t over. We remain committed to doing everything in our power to overturn this unconstitutional law.”
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