Texas city backs down from anti-abortion ordinance

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Yesterday, an anti-abortion ordinance in Edinburg, the third largest city in the Rio Grande Valley, which would have outlawed abortions and made the town a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” failed at the city council. Numerous abortion advocates testified during a three-hour public comment session and the ordinance “died” after a motion to second was denied.

The ordinance was originally announced in June by mayor Richard Molina after a proclamation by an anti-abortion religious group was read at a city meeting. The proposed ordinance would not have made any exceptions for rape or incest, and would have also created a penalty for anyone “aiding or abetting” an abortion.

Several localities in Texas have voted on similar “sanctuary city for the unborn,” including Lubbock. A judge dismissed a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood about the ordinance in Lubbock that went into effect June 1.  

Abortion advocates from the Rio Grande Valley descended on the city council meeting last night and offered impassioned pleas for why the ordinance should not pass. According to Mayor Molina, over 300 people signed up for public comments.

Organizations like La Frontera Fund, South Texans 4 RJ (Reproductive Justice), Texas Rising, and Planned Parenthood were all present at the meeting. Many young activists from the Rio Grande Valley also spoke out against the ordinance during the hours-long council meeting.

For now, the ordinance in Edinburg is dead. However, reproductive rights in Texas remain precarious. Several abortion fund groups joined a lawsuit against Senate Bill 8, the extreme anti-abortion law that is scheduled to start September 1. Gov. Abbott also signed a bill that would trigger a statewide abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned. But in Edinburg, abortion access remains legal. 

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