Sep 4, 2022
City of Houston, police will not prioritize abortion allegations Transcript
The city of Houston says it’s willing to allow for abortion care. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
And now that the state’s Abortion Trigger Law is in effect, nearly all abortions are banned.
Speaker 3: (00:05)
But the mayor of Houston announced that the city will not prioritize resources to go after those seeking or providing abortions, especially in cases of emergencies. Gerald Harris has more on this. Gerald?
Gerald Harris: (00:20)
State law makes it a felony to perform or assist with an abortion, with doctors facing possible criminal prosecution in fines. But the city of Houston says it’s standing up for abortion healthcare.
Mayor Sylvester Turner: (00:33)
Good morning to everyone. Today I’m-
Speaker 3: (00:36)
Mayor Sylvester Turner is making it clear.
Mayor Sylvester Turner: (00:39)
The city of Houston will not prioritize utilizing resources to create any record used against those experiencing miscarriages, seeking abortion or any other pregnancy outcome.
Speaker 3: (00:50)
The mayor, joined by the Houston Women’s Commission and city police, committed to not going after those who seek or perform abortions.
Mayor Sylvester Turner: (00:57)
Investigations of allegations, charges or information on pregnancy outcomes will be the lowest priority for the Houston Police Department.
Speaker 3: (01:07)
This comes after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, reversing 50 years of precedent, allowing for abortion access. Mayor Turner says he’ll be focused on the most violent crimes.
Speaker 2: (01:17)
As law enforcement, we support the mayor and council and the citizens of Houston, to make sure that we enforce all laws. We will continue to do that, as we’re duty bound. But obviously, there are priorities when you have limited resources.
Speaker 3: (01:28)
Turner says, he has not considered the possible backlash the city could face with the State or the Attorney General’s office, saying he wants women to get the best healthcare possible and protect providers.
Mayor Sylvester Turner: (01:39)
There should be no confusion that HPD is not here to interfere with how you provide medical care to your patients.
Speaker 3: (01:47)
In an August 18th letter obtained by KHOU, from Harris County district attorney, Kim Ogg, she wrote, in response to the mayor, “If police have deprioritized such investigations in order to focus on violent criminals in Harris County, we applaud that move.”
Gerald Harris: (02:06)
I reached out to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office for a reaction to this new policy, and I have not heard back.