Portland Council backpedals on Texas business, travel ban
In response to the new Texas abortion law, the Portland City Council approved a resolution that does not include a previously proposed ban on travel and business with that state on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Instead, the measure gives $200,000 dollars to the the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, which helps people in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska access reproductive care..
It was the final item on the council's Sept. 15 agenda.
The vote was 4-to-1 with Commissioner Mingus Mappas dissenting. Mapps said he believe that "allocating $200,000 of Portland taxpayer dollars to fund reproductive care for women from Texas is a highly unusual expenditure which does not advance a meaningful legal or legislative challenge to Texas' unconstitutional anti-abortion law."
Wheeler defended the allocation, saying, "With regard to the criticism that this is money that should not be spent, I want to be clear, that once people make the decision to come from anywhere to our community to take advantage of the health care opportunities that exist here, we are going to serve them alongside people who are from the city of Portland. And so the dollars that would be going toward this effort are in fact for people who will walk into health care providers in our community, particularly those who do not have access or experience barriers to access, I think it is very important that we make this statement with $200,000."
When Wheeler originally announced the measure, it prohibited city government from doing business with the state of Texas because of its new restrictions on abortions. It would have banned the purchase of goods and services from Texas, and all city employee business travel there.
"The ban will be in effect until the state of Texas withdraws its unconstitutional ban on abortion or until it is overturned in court. City legal counsel is currently evaluating the legal aspects of this proposed resolution. The Portland City Council stands unified in its belief that all people should have the right to choose if and when they carry a pregnancy and that the decisions they make are complex, difficult and unique to their circumstances," said a press release from Wheeler's office on Friday, Sept. 3.
Texas has banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a time when many, if not most, women may not yet realize they are pregnant. It allows private citizens anywhere in the United States to sue anyone they believe has helped a pregnant woman get an abortion in Texas after the six week limit.
The U.S. Supreme Court on a 5-to-4 vote declined to block the law from taking effect.
"This law does not demonstrate concern for the health, safety and well-being of those who may become pregnant. This law does not recognize or show respect for the human rights of those who may become pregnant. This law rewards private citizens for exercising surveillance and control over others' bodies. It violates the separation of church and state. And, it will force people to carry pregnancies against their will," said the release.
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