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Dallas city council votes to commemorate Roe v. Wade

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

Fifty years of legal precedent protecting the right to legal abortions was overturned last year when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

But Dallas city council members have moved to reaffirm the city’s support of abortion rights.
The council voted to commemorate the 50th year anniversary of the landmark case during Wednesday’s meeting. The lawsuit started in Dallas in 1970, and eventually made its way to the Supreme Court.

The outcome of the court’s decision would serve as precedent for almost five decades until it was overturned in 2022.

“It’s never a moment to celebrate when you have rights as a free American that are being stripped away from you,” Council Member Adam Bazaldua said on Wednesday. “We’ve got to look at ways to restore these rights.”

The council approved a resolution restating the city’s commitment to legal abortion rights for Dallas residents on Wednesday. City council members were clear that this resolution is commemorative only. But it was a way to reaffirm the city’s support regarding abortion.

The council resolution also urged the Biden administration to not accept budget amendments that would effectively block legal pathways to medical treatment. This includes the Hyde Amendment, which “prohibits covered funds to be expended for any abortion” or to provide medical coverage surrounding abortion care.

The resolution notes the different challenges facing people who are seeking an abortion, including insurance coverage bans, access to facilities and “a dehumanizing immigration system” that exacerbates the “already-massive barriers” to abortion care.

Along with tapping federal lawmakers to protect a person’s right to choose, the Dallas council item will also be sent to Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas legislature.

The resolution was met with opposition from both the public and within the city council. Council Member Adam McGough, who represents district 10, vocally opposed the resolution calling it poorly written and deals with issues the council “can’t do anything about.”

“It is my understanding that abortion is illegal in the state of Texas, and I am thankful for that,” McGough said during Wednesday’s council meeting. “…I’m sorry we’re having this discussion in Dallas city council and I for one, as a representative of this city do not support this resolution.”

Council Member Mendelsohn also expressed concern over the commemorative resolution but was not in the council chambers when the vote was taken.

“The item is simply not appropriate for city council,” Mendelsohn said. “The resolution is meant to specifically thumb our nose at the very legislators we are asking for help… I encourage my colleagues to get focused on the real challenges facing this body and leave abortion theatrics to the state and federal elected officials.”

The council voted 10-1 in favor of the resolution after public comment that mostly opposed it. Council Members Tennell Atkins and Casey Thomas were also not in council chambers when the vote was taken.

Got a tip? Email Nathan Collins at You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

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Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.