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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Local City Council Passes Resolution ‘De-Prioritizing’ Abortion Enforcement


Denton City Council in meeting | Image by Denton Record-Chronicle

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After the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade on June 24, the Denton City Council approved a resolution late Tuesday to “de-prioritize” the enforcement of abortion laws. The resolution directs the Denton Police Department to make abortion cases the lowest priority and asks them not to use City funds for abortion investigations.

Three council members, including the mayor, voted against the resolution, while four voted in favor of it.

Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth said that minor changes were made to the proposal’s phrasing the previous evening and that the public was unaware of the new version.

“I am going to vote no. I am not excited about this,” said Hudspeth. “When did we get it in the work session today? We could have disseminated it to everyone. … I’m not going to violate my oath of office. We are in uncharted territory.”

Councilmember Alison Maguire, who proposed the resolution, argued that the revisions in wording were minimal and had nothing to do with the resolution’s purpose.

Councilmembers Jesse Davis and Chris Watts also voted against the motion on the grounds that it would not change anything, as abortion would still be a crime under state law.

“As passionate as everyone has been on this issue, it doesn’t matter if this resolution passes or not,” said Davis. “It just doesn’t make a difference.”

“It does nothing. It affects nothing,” he said.

Maguire acknowledged the resolution does not make abortion legal in Denton.

She added that other law-enforcement organizations, like the Denton County Sheriff’s Department or the University of North Texas Police department, may take a firm stand toward criminalizing the procedure.

“This is a very limited measure that’s going to have a limited impact,” said Maguire to The Dallas Morning News after the vote. “But I think that what we saw from the community was a groundswell of fear and anger about what losing the right to an abortion is going to do to their lives. And they were here to ask their local elected representatives to do what’s in our power to protect them.”

“I’m cautiously optimistic that it will make a difference for our residents,” she added.

On Friday, all Texas clinics ceased offering abortions. A state court, however, decided on June 28 that certain clinics could temporarily resume performing abortions up to six weeks of pregnancy.

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1 month ago

Profound shame on the City Council for doing this. You shall either embrace rule of law or you will suffer rule by chaos. Choose wisely and be very careful what you wish for.