These Texas cities consider resolutions to decriminalize abortion after Denton vote

·2 min read
Elias Valverde II/Dallas Morning News

El Paso and Austin are considering resolutions to affirm a woman’s right to private health care decisions after the Denton City Council voted June 28 to not prioritize the enforcement of abortion laws.

In a press release Wednesday, two Two El Paso council members said the resolution will be discussed Tuesday during a work session meeting. According to the news release, taxpayer dollars are not to be used “frivolously” for programs or efforts to criminalize women or others considering abortion.

City funds are not to be used to investigate, catalog or report abortions, and police should make investigating such reports their lowest priority..

The Austin City Council plans to take up a similar resolution later in July.

Kara Sheehan, executive director of the Texas chapter of Local Progress, an organization that works with elected officials on progressive issues, said in an email to the Star-Telegram that she is not aware of other North Texas cities considering similar resolutions at this time.

“All people should be trusted to know their lives and bodies, and to get the health care they need, when they need it, on the timeline that works for them,” she said. “The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will affect millions of people. I’m proud to see local governments stepping up to put in place policies that will protect people seeking abortion care from criminalization.”

Denton council member Alison Maguire, who spearheaded the resolution, told the Star-Telegram previously that she brought forth the resolution to make sure it passed before the “trigger law” that bans abortion takes effect.

After Roe V. Wade was overturned, there were questions on whether a law on the books to ban abortion would take effect.

A Harris County judge issued a temporary restraining order this week blocking the pre-Roe law from taking effect.

The vote in Denton drew passionate speeches from the public, with one side stating that the city had no authority to go against state law and that the public did not get a chance to see the final version of the resolution before commenting at the meeting.

Others said women and others involved with reproductive health care decisions shouldn’t be prosecuted.

Kimi King, a political science professor at the University of North Texas, said this is not the first time that Denton has taken a stance on contentious issues.

Denton passed an anti-fracking ordinance in 2014 that was eventually overruled by the state, she said.

The upcoming elections will determine if the economy or leadership will be the deciding factor in our leadership, King said.

“I think what we’re seeing in this city council vote is the growing pains of change. Denton, a growing city, is increasingly becoming its own political actor,” King said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting