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Banner at Southcrest Baptist Church on April 27, in Lubbock. Photo Justin Rex courtesy of The Texas Tribune.
The banner at Southcrest Baptist Church on April 27, in Lubbock, Texas. Photo: Justin Rex/Texas Tribune.

Texas' new 'sanctuary for the unborn'

Lubbock voters have approved a measure aimed at banning abortion, declaring it a "sanctuary city for the unborn."

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Residents of Lubbock, Texas, voted on Saturday, May 2 to declare the city a "sanctuary for the unborn," despite the City Council's rejection of the proposal last year.

The proposal passed with 62% vote, but it is still unclear when it will go into effect.

"The Church of Jesus Christ has come together, taken its rightful, God-given role, and said we are not going to allow babies to be killed in our city," said Jim Baxa of West Texas for Life. 

Lubbock's ordinance prohibits abortion in all cases except when the woman's life is in danger. It also allows any private citizen of Texas and any family member of any woman who has an abortion to sue the provider or anyone who helped her.

The vote came amid a slew of anti-abortion restrictions that have been passing in Republican-led cities and states, who hope the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually reconsider its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and ban abortion.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said legal action is being weighed, calling the Lubbock vote unconstitutional and harmful to women's health. The city is a medical center for a million people in West Texas.

The ordinance "has a huge impact not only on the people of Lubbock, but on the entire region," said Drucilla Tigner, policy and advocacy strategist for the ACLU-Texas.

According to Baxa of West Texas for Life, an organization that was among those that got the ordinance before voters, its major goal was for Texas to ban abortions at the state level.

In March, the Texas Senate passed five bills restricting abortion, one of which seeks to ban abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks in some cases.

The Texas House of Representatives is expected to take up these measures by the end of this week.

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