The Portland City Council will vote Wednesday on an emergency resolution that would ban buying goods and services from Texas, in response to a new Texas law restricting access to abortions.
The ban, which would also halt city employee travel to the state, would be in effect until Texas either withdraws the legislation or the law gets overturned in court, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office said in a statement Friday.
“All people should have the right to choose if and when they carry a pregnancy,” the statement said. “This law rewards private individuals for exercising surveillance and control over others’ bodies … And, it will force people to carry pregnancies against their will.”
The Texas law, which went into effect Wednesday, bans abortions after physicians can detect fetal cardiac activity. That typically occurs in the early stages of pregnancy — around six weeks — before most people know they’re pregnant.
The law sparked immediate outcry nationwide, with critics arguing it violated the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that protects a person’s right to get an abortion up until 24 weeks of pregnancy. In a 5-4 vote late Wednesday, the Supreme Court declined to block the law.
Instead of having state officials enforce the ban, the law deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who performs or “aids and abets” an abortion. Plaintiffs can sue and recover legal fees, along with $10,000 in statutory damages for every procedure they successfully report.
In a joint dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justices Sonya Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan said the law makes private citizens “bounty hunters” who can earn “cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.”
Wheeler’s statement said Texas’s “unconstitutional ban” on abortions violates the separation of church and state, which is protected by the First Amendment.
“All people should have the right to choose if and when they carry a pregnancy,” the statement said. “We urge other leaders and elected bodies around the nation to join us in condemning the actions of the Texas state government.”
— Catalina Gaitán
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