Sunday, September 26, 2021
Sept. 26, 2021

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Portland scraps boycott, changes response to Texas abortion law

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PORTLAND — The city of Portland has walked back a proposed Texas boycott and travel ban in response to the state’s dramatic curtailing of abortion access.

Instead, city officials are considering setting aside $200,000 that will go to organizations “that deliver programs and services related to reproductive healthcare,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

The resolution does not specify if the groups to receive that money would be based in Oregon. The city council will consider the new proposal on Wednesday.

Days after Texas passed legislation that banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, the council announced the city would be withdrawing its business over what they called an “attack on the reproductive rights, freedom, and autonomy of people across the country.”

City spokesperson Heather Hafer said the city had purchased slightly less than $35 million in goods and services from Texas in the past five years.

City officials have scrambled since the initial proposal to nail down how such a boycott would work. Late Tuesday afternoon, the city released the draft resolution showing the boycott had been scrapped.

“The Portland City Council wishes to manifest its opposition to the Texas abortion ban, and its support for those who are affected by it, by ensuring that those who seek to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion have access to certified healthcare providers in safe and secure facilities,” the ordinance says.

The resolution also directs the council to send a letter to the Oregon Congressional delegation urging them to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, federal legislation that would preserve people’s right to access abortion, and a letter to the Biden Administration supporting the Department of Justice’s challenge to the Texas law.

Wheeler’s previous plan to boycott drew the ire of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who insulted Portland on Twitter as a “dumpster fire” and called its leaders “depraved” in response.

The Texas law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks — before some people know they are pregnant. It differs significantly from laws blocked in other states because it leaves enforcement up to private citizens through lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.

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