Dallas City Council approves ordinance limiting resources to investigate abortions

Dallas City Council approved a measure on Wednesday to restrict the use of city resources to investigate abortions.

The city council’s move won’t make abortion legal in Dallas, but it does aim to keep it a low priority for law enforcement when the state’s trigger law banning abortions goes into effect.                   

The resolution was approved in a 13-1 vote with only Councilman Adam McGough opposing.

The measure prevents city workers from keeping records or giving out information about individuals seeking abortions or having a miscarriage. It also bans employees from using any kind of surveillance to determine if an abortion has occurred.

The resolution requires that any investigations into abortions will be the lowest priority for enforcement.

On Aug. 25, almost all abortions will become a felony in the state of Texas.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, while there were some supporters of the vote, there was also a number of people who didn’t want it to happen.

"The pre-born are just as valid, just as valuable as any born person," one person said.

"Pass this resolution, and you will be doing your job," another person said.

On the city council, the opinion was almost universal with just one council member voting against it.

Adam McGough said there needed to be more time to vet it in case there are legal ramifications.

SMU political science professor Matthew Wilson says the resolution is largely symbolic because abortions will still remain illegal. 

"This will further conflict between the city and the state," he said. "The major cities in Texas are Democratic whereas the state as a whole is Republican."

But Wilson says state Republican leaders might take action, fearing this resolution will further establish a precedent.

"The state could conceivably pass a measure about abortion or gun control or taxation or anything else," he said. "And then the question would be is that going to be universally applicable state law or is every city going to make its own decision?"

Denton, Austin and other Texas cities have already passed similar measures.

RELATED: Denton will limit enforcement of new Texas abortion trigger law

The vote is in response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

A new Texas abortion law is expected to take effect on August 25. The law would make it a felony to knowingly perform or attempt an abortion. There is an exception for life-threatening situations.

Dallas City Council also approved an ordinance ordering a special election to be held on the future of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and Fair Park.