Portland to Consider Ban on Texas Travel, Trade over Abortion Law

Demonstrators at a Planned Parenthood rally at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, April 5, 2017. (Ilana Panich-Linsman/Reuters)

The Portland City Council is set to vote Wednesday on a proposal to ban trading goods and services with Texas and to prohibit state-employee business travel to the Lone Star State over its new law that prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Portland’s mayor announced the vote last week and claimed that Texas’s new law, which allows any individual to sue the people “knowingly” assisting a prohibited abortion, “does not demonstrate concern for the health, safety, and well-being of those who many become pregnant.”

“This law does not recognize or show respect for the human rights of those who may become pregnant,” Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement. “This law rewards private individuals 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.”

The Texas law went into effect Wednesday. The measure allows any individual to sue medical providers who perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The law says plaintiffs in litigation cases resulting from the law’s implementation can earn up to $10,000 in damages.

The Supreme Court issued a 5–4 decision rejecting a challenge to the law last week. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Court’s three liberal justices in dissent.

“We stand with Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who fought to block this attack on the reproductive rights, freedom, and autonomy of people across the country,” Wheeler’s statement adds. “We urge other leaders and elected bodies around the nation to join us in condemning the actions of the Texas state government. Portland City Council stands with the people who may one day face difficult decisions about pregnancy, and we respect their right to make the best decision for themselves.”

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