Dallas City Council doing what it can to limit local abortion investigations

The Dallas City Council yesterday approved a resolution aimed at reducing the local impact of the upcoming state abortion ban.

It was among the long list of items to be discussed at the Board’s first meeting after the body’s vacation in July. Councilman Adam Bazaldua drafted the resolution, which directs city staff to make investigating and prosecuting abortion charges “the lowest priority for enforcement.” It directs City Manager TC Broadnax not to use city resources (except in specific situations) to investigate the occurrence of an abortion.

The resolution – which is similar to the so-called Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone, or GRACE, law passed in San Antonio, Denton, Waco, El Paso and Austin – does not tell law enforcement that they cannot investigate. It simply makes it the lowest possible priority, which many council members touted as a way to save police resources.

The measure does not apply where law enforcement officials may need to investigate cases of criminal negligence by a practitioner caring for a pregnant person, or where force or coercion is used against a pregnant person.

Before the vote, Bazaldua said he was confident that most of his colleagues would support the resolution. “I think it’s important for us to take a stand as local elected officials,” he said. “We got elected and when we see something as outrageous and dangerous as the Dobbs decision, for us to sit back and not provide some kind of protection for the women of Dallas, for me, is a missed opportunity.”

When the issue came to a vote, Councilman Adam McGough was the only one to vote against, warning the city would have “a lot of negative implications”.

“We are open to a cause of action and countless amounts of money to address this issue,” he said. “We haven’t talked about the implications for public safety. We just had this amorphous discussion, “Hey, that’ll help our officers focus more.”

Three other board members – Cara Mendelsohn, Chad West and Jesse Moreno – were not present for the vote. However, West and Moreno have indicated their support for the resolution on social media.

“I’ve heard from countless voters over the past few weeks that they want to see the City of Dallas do everything in its power to protect the right to access reproductive health in our city,” West said. on Facebook. “Like my support for the decriminalization of marijuana to prioritize Dallas Police Department resources, I believe that investigating abortion procedures in Dallas would do nothing to improve public safety in our city, and I want DPD to continue to focus its resources on effective crime prevention.”

Moreno agreed, “It doesn’t make sense for our police to spend time and resources hunting down people who are simply trying to get health care, and abortion falls into that category.”

City Manager TC Broadnax and Executive Assistant City Counsel Casey Burgess said they see no concerns about the resolution.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said his department, like police departments in other cities, didn’t know what procedure would be followed for abortion reports because they didn’t have yet received from state tips. As soon as they do, he said, he will work with the Broadnax office to determine what the protocols would look like.

“Having a policy that says you won’t enforce a law on the books would be a violation of our police officer’s oath,” Garcia said. “Exercising discretion is different from saying you won’t enforce a law in the state of Texas.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said in June he would not pursue cases generated by the state’s trigger law, which the Texas legislature established to make abortion illegal for 30 days. after the Supreme Court decision. This is expected to come into effect on August 25.

Bazaldua hopes the Dallas County Court of Commissioners will accept a similar resolution.

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Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the chief digital editor of Magazine D. She has written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.