The city of Portland quietly abandoned its pledge to ban goods and services from Texas in protest of the Lone Star State’s new pro-life law, which prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected, because it could be “punitive to Texans who, are in fact, the most affected.”
Despite the national attention the city’s original resolution received, the City Council walked back its proposed ban last week and instead voted to allocate $200,000 to “programs and services related to reproductive healthcare.” It is unclear which organizations will receive these funds.
“Will what we do today fundamentally change the mindset of Texas legislators? Probably not,” Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty told the Associated Press. “But what it will do is send a very strong message, to the people of Texas, that we don’t abandon them just because unfortunately they have the leadership that they have.”
Despite the original proposal’s shortcomings, Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler staunchly defended the City Council’s efforts and reiterated his opposition to the Texas law.
“I’ve heard some suggest that this [law] has no bearing on our local community. … I could not disagree more,” Wheeler said during a meeting on Wednesday. “If this Texas law, restricting the rights of women, is allowed to stand then it will spread to other states — it will jeopardize Roe v. Wade and it will impact our constituents here in the city of Portland.”
The City Council and Wheeler previously made national headlines for promising to ban goods and services as well as city-sponsored travel to and from Texas.
“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,” Wheeler said in a statement. “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.”
Corporate media amplified Wheeler’s threats and boosted rhetoric from the City Council, which called the Texas law an “unconstitutional ban on abortion” and a violation of “human rights of those who may become pregnant.”
Local lawmakers in Portland, Oregon, are set to vote on an “emergency resolution” on Wednesday to ban the city’s procurement of goods and services from the state of Texas in the wake of its restrictive new abortion law. https://t.co/Ql75wmC5A2
— ABC News (@ABC) September 8, 2021
— The Hill (@thehill) September 7, 2021
Portland to vote on travel and trade ban for Texas over abortion law https://t.co/dsobNIaG3h
— The Independent (@Independent) September 7, 2021
“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 City Council’s statement said, echoing the same “surveillance and control” rhetoric as Wheeler.
When asked by The Federalist earlier in September which goods and services would be affected by the now-irrelevant ban, the city’s public information officer merely said there was “a total of $34,656,323 in goods and services originating from Texas during the past five years” and that “there were a total of 19 trips made by City employees to Texas within the last 2 years.” Questions about whether the ban would extend to oil or even flights from Texas were left unanswered even when the City Council postponed the original vote.
Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.