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What to do about Texas?

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The question of whether to have business travel, conferences, etc. to Texas and any other state that copies their Fugitive Uterus Act is a serious one:

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced on Friday that Portland City Council will vote on an emergency resolution on Wednesday with the intent to ban city business and employee travel related to the state of Texas.

The resolution was made in response to the state’s recent abortion laws that greatly restrict access to the procedure. In a statement from the city of Portland, the law was called unconstitutional.

If passed, the ban will continue until the state of Texas withdraws the abortion law or until it is overturned in court. City legal counsel is currently evaluating the legal aspects of this proposed resolution.

The Portland City Council said in a statement, “It 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.”

Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled to protect safe, legal abortion in the famous Roe v. Wade case. Late Wednesday night, the Supreme Court declined to block a Texas law banning abortions after only 6 weeks of pregnancy. This 5-4 decision allows Texas to outlaw an estimated 85% of all abortion procedures in the state.

The City of Portland expressed disapproval of the law saying it does not demonstrate concern for the health, safety and well-being of those who may become pregnant; it does not recognize or show respect for the human rights of those who may become pregnant; 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,” said the statement.

Leaving aside the complicated question of boycotts, there’s also immediate practical questions. Do you want to travel to a state where some people cannot get access to critical healthcare? Do you want to travel to a state where anyone has the standing to sue you if they imagine you’ve had anything to do with someone’s abortion, with no penalties for frivolous suits? I certainly wouldn’t dream of traveling to any of these states, including for professional purposes. The fact that the state’s policy towards COVID is to do worse than nothing doesn’t exactly help either…

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