HOUSTON — As almost all abortions are now banned in Texas due to the state’s trigger law going into effect, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city will not prioritize resources to go after those seeking or providing abortions, especially in cases of emergencies.
State law makes it a felony to perform or assist with an abortion. Doctors face possible criminal prosecution and fines if they do so, but the city of Houston says it's willing to allow for abortion care.
“The city of Houston will not prioritize utilizing resources to create any record used against those experiencing miscarriages, seeking an abortion or any other pregnancy outcome,” Turner said.
The mayor, joined by the Houston Women’s Commission and city police, committed to not going after those who seek or perform abortions.
“Investigations of allegations, charges or information on pregnancy outcomes will be the lowest priority for the Houston Police Department,” Turner said.
The notice comes after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision reversing 50 years of precedent allowing for abortion access.
Turner said he’ll instead be focused on the most violent crimes.
“As law enforcement, we support the mayor and council and the citizens of Houston to make sure that we enforce all laws,” said HPD Executive Chief Matt Slinkard. “We will continue to do that as we’re duty bound, but obviously there are priorities when you have limited resources.”
Turner says he has not considered the possible backlash the city could face with the state or the attorney general’s office, adding that he wants women to get the best healthcare possible and protect providers.
“There should be no confusion that HPD is not here to interfere how you perform, provide medical care to your patients,“ Turner said.
In an August 18 letter from Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, she wrote in response to Turner in part:
“If police have de-prioritized such investigations in order to focus on the violent criminals in Harris County, we applaud that move,” Ogg said.
Ogg's full statement can be read below:
KHOU 11 has reached out to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office for a response and we have not heard back.