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A small step toward abortion access for women in Texas

The+El+Paso+City+Council+voted+7-1+last+month+to+limit+the+use+of+city+resources+when+it+comes+to+criminal+investigations+of+abortions.+Photo+courtesy+of+Seattle+City+Council+
The El Paso City Council voted 7-1 last month to limit the use of city resources when it comes to criminal investigations of abortions. Photo courtesy of Seattle City Council

With occasional posters and shouting across the room, an audience filled the room with strong emotions and opinions on the possible approval of whether a motion could soon be the first step toward abortion access. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade this past summer, many cities across Texas had to rethink their own abortion laws. 

But as with anything, when this motion was brought up it sparked a heated debate between the audience and city council members. About 50 people registered to speak both in favor of and against the proposal. Some could argue the audience’s emotions were mixed, but that is to be expected when discussing a sensitive subject like abortion. 

The El Paso City Council voted 7-1 last month to limit the use of city resources when it comes to criminal investigations of abortions, after failing to do so last summer. Many residents of El Paso and the surrounding area are unsure about what this decision means for the city.  

Several women throughout many states lost access to abortions and Texas is one of 13 states that have outlawed the procedure and the abortion pill. In Texas, private citizens can sue those who provide, help, or seek anyone getting an abortion.  

In some places, the legal battle over access to abortions continues as advocates have pushed against this enforcement, leaving numerous women feeling helpless and frustrated because their state has banned their own personal rights. 

With the motion being proposed by Rep. Alexsandra Annello and co-sponsored by Rep. Chris Canales and Rep. Henry Rivera, there was still a divide between the council as every city council member voted in favor of this approach, except Rep. Joe Molinar.  

According to El Paso Matters, Rep. Annello shared her thoughts about this motion passing and what it means for any El Paso woman looking for this procedure.  

“The approved resolution is intended to ease the criminalization of abortion,” Annello said.  

In this article, a public testimony was provided which stated that; “City resources will not be used to create any record of information to any individual seeking an abortion, miscarriage or any other event that can be prosecuted as a violation.”  

Additionally, the bill limits the city’s power to alert government agencies if a woman requests or receives an abortion. So far, El Paso is not the only Texas city that has created legislation of this type.  

Following the events of Roe v. Wade being overturned, City Council members from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and even Denton have drafted and passed a similar bill to the El Paso bill. But those worried about Gov. Gregg Abbott or Texas state laws having some effect on this decision are not alone. 

Last summer, City Rep. Isabel Salcido expressed some uncertainty about whether this motion would be affected by state laws. She changed her vote in favor of this policy after being assured that it would draw a line with state laws.

With this proposal approved, more women would have much easier access to these resources around the city, making them feel safer and more secure without being criminalized or penalized for exercising a right belonging to every woman. 

As of right now, the council is scheduled to inform the public in writing along with a presentation of any advancements made toward putting this policy into effect on March 27 and May 23 of this year. 

Erik Acosta is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected].edu 

 

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About the Contributor
Erik Acosta
Erik Acosta, Editor-in-Chief
Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in theatre. He plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and print with hopes of working at LA times, Washington Post and ABC News.
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A small step toward abortion access for women in Texas