By Corinne Murdock |
During Tuesday’s policy meeting, the Phoenix City Council approved a resolution permitting the Phoenix Police Department (PPD) to deprioritize investigations of abortion law violations. It doesn’t distinguish between early-term and late-term abortions.
“The proposed resolution also declares Council’s support for City officials in establishing law enforcement priorities that consider the need to protect the physical, psychological, and socioeconomic well-being of pregnant persons and their care providers, and make the enforcement of laws that restrict or deny abortion and abortion-related care the lowest priority for law enforcement,” stated the resolution.
The resolution also decried the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Dobbs v. Jackson ruling that no constitutional right to abortion exists. Despite being the only item on the agenda, the resolution inspired over an hour and a half of discussion and public comment.
The resolution deviates from previous promises by the council to prohibit city resources and personnel from enforcing abortion bans or restrictions, as reflected in a draft copy of the resolution shared with the Arizona Republic. It appears the council changed their mind based on a legal assessment by City Attorney Cris Meyer.
“City resources and personnel will not be used to enforce any state ban or restrictions,” read the draft resolution. “[This resolution] directs the City Manager to implement the resolution including necessary changes to policies and procedures and bring changes to the City Council as necessary.”
Council in favor of the resolution lamented that they couldn’t do more to prevent the enforcement of abortion restrictions and bans. They passed the resolution 6-2.
Those who continued to provide abortions after the SCOTUS ruling, such as Camelback Family Planning, told the Arizona Republic that they likely wouldn’t continue to provide abortions even if Phoenix made itself a sanctuary city for abortion.
READ HERE: PHOENIX’S ABORTION RESOLUTION
Public commentary reflected a divide in the community on the acceptability of abortion. Those who spoke in favor of the resolution represented the establishment, by and large: activists, state legislative candidates, and a former PPD leader. Those who opposed the resolution were avowed Christian citizens.
The ACLU of Arizona Victoria Lopez said that the council’s resolution would protect women’s “right” to abortion. Lopez encouraged the council to work around the legal issues presented by Meyer in order to limit city resources and personnel when enforcing abortion law.
Democratic state representative candidate Analise Ortiz, a former ACLU strategist and mainstream media journalist, urged the council to undertake that effort as well. Ortiz claimed that she and other women would be incarcerated for getting an abortion. Neither the total abortion ban or the 15-week abortion restriction punish the mother for getting an abortion. Likewise, Democratic state senator candidate Anna Hernandez advocated for the council to do more beyond the resolution.
Dianne Post, an activist lawyer, compared pregnancy to slavery. She claimed that SCOTUS decided to overturn Roe v. Wade because of Christianity, not constitutional law.
“We have no morality police in the United States,” asserted Post.
Planned Parenthood of Arizona (PPAZ) Board Member Parris Wallace said that she decided to have two of her children, and one aborted. Wallace reminded the council that PPAZ endorsed the majority of them.
“You owe it to your constituents and ours to hold the line,” said Wallace.
Retired PPD Assistant Chief Sandra Renteria stated that PPD would waste their time enforcing state law restricting or banning abortions. Renteria said there were more important crimes to address.
“Police officers do not want to be the immigration police and certainly don’t want to be the abortion police,” said Renteria.
A 16-year-old girl named Addison Walker opposed the resolution. She questioned why the council would vindicate the morality of ending an unborn child’s life based on whether the mother wants her or not.
“If your closest friend was murdered, what would you say if the police were instructed to ‘deprioritize’ the investigation of that murder? Would you not be outraged?” said Walker. “Remember: if you deprioritize this law, their blood is on your hands. Your names will go down in history as those who willingly promoted the holocaust of infants in Arizona. More importantly, on Judgment Day, when God judges the righteous and unrighteous, you will be held guilty and be punished for what you have failed to do.”
A woman named Ashley testified that her miscarriage experience convicted her that abortion is a great evil that kills an unborn child, not “a clump of cells.”
“If you vote ‘yes’ on this resolution, you aren’t doing anything noble. Certainly not the babies, nor the bereft mothers, nor even the abortion doctors who cauterize their own consciences with every baby they rip apart,” stated Ashley.
A husband and wife, Christopher and Candace Samuels, both spoke against the resolution. Christopher admonished the council for deprioritizing policing on the most violent crime being committed, while Candace said the resolution encouraged people to break the law. The couple described themselves as refugees of California.
“This is absolutely, as my husband said, abominable,” said Candace. “Please stand up for what our state’s law is, instead of trying to do a sneaky little back-door resolution to get your way.”
Watch the entire Phoenix City Council policy meeting below:
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.