By Mark Lee Dickson
Recently Drew Landry, an assistant professor of government at South Plains College, wrote an opinion piece in the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal entitled “Questions about Sanctuary City Ordinance.” The following is my gracious but direct response to the questions raised by Mr. Landry.
Mr. Landry, you said, “there is not a more emotionally driven and divisive issue in all of American politics than abortion.” I am sure, at one time, the same thing was said about slavery or how the Nazis were treating the Jewish people. Was selling black men, women, and children a divisive issue at one time? Absolutely, and praise God people rose up and brought an end to that human rights injustice! Was the execution of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany a divisive issue at one time? Absolutely, and praise God people rose up and brought an end to that human rights injustice!
Mr. Landry, abortion is the intentional killing of our children and everyone knows it. Everyone in this world knows that human beings come from their mother’s womb. The mother knows it, the father knows it, the doctors know it – and there is no denying that basic fact of biology. Life begins at conception. That is what science says. Every pregnant woman who has seen her ultrasound and heard a heartbeat at 6 weeks knows that what is growing in her womb is not just a clump of cells, but a child which has been created by the coming together of a male’s sperm and a woman’s egg. Those children who are formed in their mother’s womb have a face with two eyes, one nose, and two ears which they use to hear their mother’s voice. Have you ever contemplated why many of us are so close to our mothers? It is because our mother’s voice was the first voice we heard and the voice which we heard consistently throughout the entire time we were in our mother’s womb. Mr. Landry, what has that perfect and innocent little baby ever done to deserve to have his arms and legs ripped apart and his skull crushed in a “medical procedure” called an abortion? No human being deserves that. If you saw someone ripping one of your student’s arms and legs off of their body and crush their skull you would not call that a “medical procedure” you would call that the intentional murder of a human being. You said you wanted to raise the level of debate surrounding the issue – I’m entirely game to speak up against this human rights injustice of our day.
Your first question is the question of “Why? What is the need for this ordinance?” You said the groups in favor of making Lubbock a sanctuary city for the unborn have not fully answered that question. With all due respect, have you been living under a rock? Right To Life of East Texas, West Texas For Life, Lubbock Area Republican Women, Raiders Defending Life, Young Conservatives of Texas, Texas Right To Life, Students For Life, and every other group has been more than clear. None of us want babies to be murdered in Lubbock, Texas. If you read even one of the many articles I have written about the Lubbock Vote you would have read that. If you listened to just one of the speakers at the Lubbock March For Life you would have heard that – Abortion is the intentional killing of unborn children and none of us want that in Lubbock, Texas.
You said, “In recent podcast interviews, the president of West Texas for Life and a representative for Project Destiny Lubbock admitted the ordinance is meaningless until Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992) is overturned.” While I do not have the time to listen to every interview about the Lubbock Vote, I do not believe you understood what was being said by the President of West Texas For Life. In a recent Facebook post, West Texas For Life described your op-ed piece as a “rejected Democrat politician criticizing the pro-life ordinance.” The post called every point of your op-ed piece laughable. The post clarifies that you did indeed get the message wrong stating, “He made a false claim that the president of West Texas for Life said that the ordinance is meaningless until the Supreme Court overturns PP v Casey. Mr. Landry lied in his article. This ordinance would immediately ban abortion and is immediately enforceable.” Mr. Landry, you stated that the ordinance stated that it was meaningless until the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This is not true. If you read the Lubbock Ordinance like you would read a Where’s Waldo book you may have come to that conclusion, but anyone who reads the ordinance to see what it actually says will come to a completely different conclusion.
Much could be said about the laws regarding abortion which are working their way up both of our chambers in Austin. Some of these bills, which you obviously have not read, give support to cities passing ordinances outlawing abortion within their city limits. That is not anything new as the State has always allowed cities to pass ordinances outlawing abortion. SB 22, which was passed last legislative session, expressly made clear that cities were not prohibited from prohibiting abortion within their jurisdiction.
Lubbock is what is called a “Home Rule City” and according to the Texas Municipal League, “Home rule cities derive their power from the Constitution and look to the Legislature only as a limit on that authority and may do anything that is not specifically prohibited by state law.” Nothing in state law prohibits cities from outlawing abortion within their city limits. Actually, state law states the complete opposite as it supports the fact that cities can prohibit abortion within their city limits.
Your next question, “Should the ordinance pass, will the city (want to) defend it in court?” makes me wonder if you understand how local government actually works. If the ordinance passes, regardless of whether or not Mayor Dan Pope and the Lubbock City Council want to defend the ordinance, they have an obligation as representatives of the City of Lubbock to defend the ordinance. As a Government teacher at a nearby college I would assume that you know that a Mayor and a City Council are not the ones who rule on the constitutionality of the laws which are passed, but are merely meant to enforce the laws which are passed. In the case with the Lubbock Ordinance it is specifically written in a way that requires the Mayor and City Council to hold-back from enforcing the ordinance and letting the Citizens of Lubbock lead the way in seeing the ordinance enforced through the private enforcement mechanism. If the Lubbock Ordinance passes you can rest assured that the City of Lubbock and the entire State of Texas will be watching what happens in Lubbock closely. After all, we are talking about a city doing everything possible within the laws of the State to prohibit the murder of innocent children from taking place within their city limits.
Onto your third question. “Why the hyperbole from groups supporting the ordinance?” You say that it is disturbing to you when you hear those in favor of this ordinance refer to Planned Parenthood as an abortion factory, but that is what they are. Planned Parenthood makes money off of the murder of innocent children by abortion. What should disturb you is not the fact that there are some out there who are calling it an “abortion factory” but the fact that it is an abortion factory – a place where babies, left and right, are having their arms and legs ripped off and their skulls crushed for profit. You say you believe the “oversimplification delivery is dangerous to the conversation.” I, however, do not think anyone is oversimplifying here. The more people say that pro-abortion is the same thing as being pro-murder the more people are going to realize that those who support abortion are worse than those who supported slavery and that abortion “doctors” who make a profit off of ending the lives of unborn children are actually worse than the white slave-owners who made a profit off of the slaves which they owned.
I am sure that everyone who has been involved in a human rights injustice has attempted to use statistics in an attempt to justify their cause.
The fact remains, however, that regardless of how a child is conceived a child is still a child and no child deserves to be murdered by abortion. Mr. Landry, I would encourage you to be careful about attempting to justify the eradication of the lives of people in the womb who were the product of rape or incest.
For in doing so you may just justify the suicide of a student in your class who may be led to believe that her life is worth less than your life because of how she was conceived.
Your argument, “If one was truly pro-life, he-she should favor . . .” and “should pro-choice mean more than this issue” misses the point. We are not talking about which of my many black caps I should wear backwards or whether I am going to have Spanky’s or Rosa’s for dinner tonight. What we are talking about here is whether an unborn child who has ten fingers and ten toes is going to be allowed to be murdered by abortion under the laws of the City of Lubbock, Texas.
Last but not least, your fourth question. “What will the next sanctuary city be?” Perhaps it will be a sanctuary city for conservative officeholders as the citizens of Lubbock are waking up to just how important local offices are. What many are realizing is that it is no longer acceptable for a local official to dodge the issues of our day. The citizens want to know where their elected officials stand on the issues which matter to them the most because, at the end of the day, all politics really are local.
Although it was not a question, Mr. Landry made a statement that while Roe v. Wade was not law of the land, Planned Parenthood v. Casey was the law of the land. In doing so Mr. Landry has forgotten that there are three branches of government and that only one of those branches of government is able to make and repeal laws. The Supreme Court does not have the power to make laws. All the Supreme Court can do is issue an opinion. The opinion of the Supreme Court may be that a law passed by a legislature is unconstitutional but issuing such an opinion does not erase the law, but only leaves that part of the law unenforceable. Remember, the Supreme Court could reverse its decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. If this were to happen, what do you think happens to HB 2, which has never been repealed by our State Legislature?
In closing may I remind you that the Lubbock Ordinance was not written to defy Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey but to work within those court rulings. The ordinance, whose nine findings you may need to reread, explain this clearly.
Mr. Landry, Amos 5:15 is clear. We are called to “Hate evil, love good, and establish justice within our city gates.” Abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being made in the image of God and it would grieve the heart of God to see that innocent blood shed in Lubbock, Texas. Do you fear God? Are you being sensitive to what God wants for Lubbock, Texas? I hope you will love what is good and do your part to establish justice by supporting the majority of Lubbock who intend to cast their vote for life in Lubbock, Texas on May 1st.
Submitted by Mark Lee Dickson. Mark is a Director with Right to Life of East Texas, a Pastor of SovereignLOVE Church in Longview, Texas, and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative.
Photo courtesy of David Bruegel.