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Many weeks later, it's still unclear what Dallas vote to limit investigations into abortions means

Roe V. Wade, Dallas
Azul Sordo
/
KERA
A protester holds a sign reading "Keep your laws of my body" during a pro-choice rally in Downtown Dallas, Texas on June 24.

More than a month ago, Dallas council members indicated that they would not support a state law preventing abortion services. What exactly that means is still a question mark.

The resolution was meant to limit the use of city resources to investigate abortions by stopping city employees from keeping records and releasing information about people seeking abortions.

"I think it's important for residents to know that the city of Dallas is going to stand with them and not go down the rabbit hole of political pandering to partisan politics that the state has chosen to go down,” Council Member Adam Bazaldua said in August.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion in June. And the state law went into effect in late August.

Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune said the city council has "provided additional clarity for operational implementation" but did not provide details. He said city staff will be prepared to address any unknown issues that develop.

The Dallas Police Department said for now there is no change in how 911 dispatchers will respond to calls.

"There will be instances, depending on priority and call type, that we may have to respond and take a report,” DPD Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.

He said it’s too soon to tell how Texas officials plan to enforce a state law blocking abortions services.

Under the Dallas resolution, if state or federal government officials want information about people seeking abortions city officials will still have to comply.

Other cities like Austin, Denton and San Antonio have similar abortion resolutions. The resolution in Austin is called the Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone (GRACE) Act. It asks law enforcement agencies to make prosecuting abortion-seekers and providers their lowest priority and decriminalizes abortion.

Got a tip? Email Alejandra Martinez at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.