El Paso city council votes to deprioritize abortion investigations

The El Paso City Council has voted to deprioritize investigations into abortion, after pro-lifers prevailed in preventing the success of such a measure last year. The county commission succeeded in passing its pro-abortion measure last summer. The city resolution was put forward by Rep. Alexsandra Annello, and was co-sponsored by Reps. Henry Rivera and Chris Canales, and received support from every single city council member except one.

“Enforcing pregnancy should not be anywhere near the duties of the City of El Paso or the El Paso Police Department,” Annello said in a press release. “I believe that the City has a responsibility to protect its residents from any violation of their human rights and should ensure its residents have access to resources that will promote their health and wellbeing.”

Last year, the measure failed when a 4-4 tie was broken with a final vote against it.

“I presented this item to City Council shortly after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and the item unfortunately failed to pass at the time. However, I promised our community that the fight for equal rights was not over and that there would be a continued effort to ensure the rights of all of our residents are protected,” Annello said. “El Paso cannot and should not be a tool of surveillance for any form of government against those who are making tremendous decisions in their life. This item looks to benefit the long-term health, safety, and quality of life of pregnant people.”

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Like other laws protecting preborn children, Texas does not criminalize women for having undergone abortions. It does, however, criminalize the abortionist who commits the procedure. But now, with this resolution, El Paso police will put as lowest priority any investigation of suspected abortionists operating in El Paso illegally.

An abortionist operating just outside El Paso across the Texas-New Mexico border before Roe was Franz Theard, who received numerous complaints from women regarding botched abortions. Theard faced multiple malpractice suits, and even tried to get one his victims arrested after she returned to his facility in emotional distress with the body of her child that was aborted by pill. Charges against the former patient were eventually dropped.

Theard’s facility eventually closed, but thanks to this new resolution, abortionists like him will be protected — at the expense of women’s safety in El Paso.

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