Portland moves to ban Texas travel, trade to protest new abortion law

Portland City Council is to consider an emergency resolution this week to ban future travel, goods and services from the state of Texas in protest of the state’s new abortion law.

In a statement released Friday, Mayor Ted Wheeler said City Council will hold a vote on the resolution on Wednesday, Sept. 8, with the intent to ban Portland’s "future procurement of goods and services from, and City employee business travel to, the state of Texas."

"The Portland City Council stands unified in its belief that all people should have the right to choose if and when they carry a pregnancy and that the decisions they make are complex, difficult, and unique to their circumstances," Wheeler said. "The ban will be in effect until the state of Texas withdraws its unconstitutional ban on abortion or until it is overturned in court. City legal counsel is currently evaluating the legal aspects of this proposed resolution."

The Texas state law, which took effect last Wednesday, allows anyone anywhere to sue anyone connected to an abortion in which cardiac activity was detected in the embryo — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy before most women even realize they are pregnant.

By Friday, state District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble granted Planned Parenthood a temporary restraining order under the new law, shielding its clinics from whistleblower lawsuits by the nonprofit group Texas Right to Life, its legislative director and 100 unidentified individuals.

In Portland, Wheeler affirmed, "This law does not demonstrate concern for the health, safety, and well-being of those who may become pregnant. This law does not recognize or show respect for the human rights of those who may become pregnant. 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."

"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," the mayor’s statement continued. "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."

Portland has grown a reputation for its liberalism, and as the Oregon’s largest city often seen clashes between far-left and far-right groups, other violent crime has been on the rise. In August, Portland police was struggling to find officers willing to serve on its newly resurrected gun violence unit, which was dismantled over a year ago at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Homicides have surged since the unit was disbanded last summer after the Portland City Council voted last summer to slash the police bureau’s budget by $15 million. Amid the uptick in gun violence, Wheeler, a Democrat, proposed a new unit in March renamed the "Focused Initiative Team."

This comes a year after Wheeler condemned former President Donald Trump’s efforts to intervene in Portland as violent, anti-police demonstrations targeting federal property persisted last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death. By April, however, Wheeler was calling for the public’s help to "unmask" members of the "self-described anarchist mob" who have engaged in acts of violence and vandalism in recent months.

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Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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