Dallas City Council Seeks to Blunt Impact of Abortion Ruling

Dallas City Council will consider a resolution that would direct city staff to deprioritize investigations related to abortions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The council’s Quality of Life, Arts, and Culture committee approved the resolution in a special session Aug. 2 and the full council will vote on it Aug. 10. 

The reproductive rights resolution had unanimous support from committee members and three non-committee members on the city council who came to yesterday’s meeting to share their support. Council members at the meeting said the resolution will help prevent the overworking of an understaffed police department and protect the privacy of Dallasites. 

“The larger issue is that of health care and health care privacy rights, our charge as a government is that we are here for the commonwealth and the common good of our constituents,” Council member Carolyn King Arnold said.

The resolution, if passed by the full city council, instructs City Manager T.C. Broadnax to not use city funds, personnel, hardware, or other resources to create records regarding pregnancy outcomes. The resolution also directs Dallas to make investigating cases of abortion “the lowest priority for enforcement.” However, this does not apply to investigations of criminal negligence by a practitioner looking after a pregnant person or when force is used against a pregnant person.

Other cities around Texas are working on implementing similar resolutions, such as Austin, San Antonio, and Waco. Casey Burgess, Dallas’ executive assistant city attorney, said the intent of the city is not to create any record or information related to abortions, miscarriages, or pregnancy outcomes unless required by state or federal law. 

Multiple city council members shared that members of their communities are in favor of a resolution like this one. Council member Omar Narvaez said he’s particularly seen overwhelming support from the community with the only people in opposition being straight, white men.

“Over the count of the last few weeks, I’ve heard from countless constituents who want to see the city of Dallas do everything in our power to protect the right of reproductive health across the city,” Council member Chad West said. 

The resolution moving to the full Council next week passed through the committee meeting unanimously. 

“It is our job to protect cis women, to protect trans men, or any other person that may be in need of abortion care,” Narvaez said. “Abortion care is health care. […] It is not our lane, as government, to be inside that exam room.”

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