Lubbock, Texas Mayor Dan Pope is receiving backlash for comments likening opening a Planned Parenthood facility in his town to starting a new supermarket or church.
“Telling Planned Parenthood they can’t come to Lubbock would be in some ways like telling United they couldn’t build another store or telling the Southern Baptist Convention they couldn’t do another church start in Lubbock,” Pope said on “The Chad Hasty Show” on Thursday.
According to Pope, the ordinance is “a slippery slope” and he doesn’t think he should “be telling businesses what to do.”
“It’s not the lane we need to be in. We need to do the things we were elected to do: provide police and fire services, make sure that our parks are maintained, make sure that we take care of our streets. Do the things that citizens elect us to do,” Pope added.
Pope’s comments come after a recent city ordinance proposed by multiple Texas state congressmen and pro-life advocates asked for prohibiting Planned Parenthood and abortion within the city limits to make Lubbock a “sanctuary city for the unborn.” The proposal comes after Planned Parenthood announced its return to Lubbock for the first time since 2013. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Texas Sen. Charles Perry and others sent a letter in late August to Pope and the Lubbock City Council asking them to pass the ordinance and “prevent [Planned Parenthood] from opening, since this organization profits off ending the lives of unborn children.”
According to Pope, Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson penned a response to the original letter on Friday, explaining that the ordinance was under “legal review” by city lawyers before it would be considered for the city council’s agenda.
“At this time, the proposed ordinance is under legal review. Following the review, the City Council will be briefed in executive session on the proposed ordinance, its enforceability and whether this is appropriately a state or local matter based on the included language,” Atkinson wrote. “Council members will then have the opportunity to instruct staff whether to place this ordinance on a future agenda for consideration.”
According to Perry, however, the ordinance was written with state and local law in mind and does not place an “undue burden” on women, as previously outlined in Supreme Court cases.
“We are on good legal standing to have this conversation,” Perry stated.
While Pope claims that he is “unequivocally pro-life,” he says that he won’t vote for the ordinance until it has been thoroughly inspected and he can examine it “in its final form.”
“I need to see the ordinance in its final form. I can’t say that I would vote for the ordinance until I saw it,” he said.