Recognizing it was going to be a long night, Mayor Cole Stanley asked all in attendance that wanted to be heard on Discussion Item 11A of Tuesday’s agenda to hold off until the council made it to that point.
11A discussed the recent State of Texas actions related to prohibiting abortion, the Texas Heartbeat Act and related bills proposed during the 88th Legislative Session.
Some Texas counties have adopted ordinances that allow a private citizen to file a lawsuit against another they believe to be assisting a woman to abort her unborn child. It can be more complicated than that. Much more.
While such ordinances don’t appear to punish the woman seeking an abortion, they do present a legal risk for anyone providing transportation to receive the procedure.
The podium was busy with public from in and around the Amarillo area as well as from other states, all sharing their thoughts and opinions while encouraging the men behind the dais to do the right thing.
There’s the issue. What exactly is the right thing?
The gallery appeared split between those supporting abortion and those opposed. Who covers the fees resulting from lawsuits? How can laws forbidding the use of roadways be enforced? How are violators identified?
One attendee from Las Cruces, NM said she sees mostly Texas women and some from other abortion-banning states at the clinics she stands outside of to offer pro-life options. She went on to suggest pro-abortion groups see Texas as a business opportunity, investing millions in current clinics and seeking to build others.
After almost 7 hours and prior to adjourning, Mayor Stanley complimented a still full gallery on the decorum shown during the long evening given the passion of what was discussed.
It will remain on the rolling agenda and city staff, the public and council will most likely schedule a work session.