FILE — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

(The Center Square) – The Oregon city of Portland may soon no longer give Texas its business in reaction to its latest law restricting abortions. 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s administration plans to block all purchases of goods or services and forbid any city-sponsored travel to Texas after legislation signed in May took effect last week.

Wheeler called the city council to vote on an emergency resolution Wednesday.

“This law does not demonstrate concern for the health, safety, and well-being of those who may become pregnant,” Wheeler’s office said in a news release. “This law does not recognize or show respect for the human rights of those who may become pregnant. This law rewards private individuals for exercising surveillance and control over others’ bodies. It violates the separation of church and state. And, it will force people to carry pregnancies against their will.”

The city council said in a news release it was reviewing the legality of the measure.

It’s unclear how much business the city does with businesses in Texas or how often city officials travel there. 

Texas’ law, which bans abortions once a heartbeat is detected, took effect only after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the legislation. The nation’s high court decided the matter on a 5-4 unsigned opinion.

The majority said that “it is unclear whether the named defendants in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce the Texas law against the applicants in a manner that might permit our intervention” and noted the state "has said that neither it nor its executive employees possess the authority to enforce the Texas law either directly or indirectly.”

Wheeler’s statement referenced the minority justices in their dissent to halting the Texas law from taking effect. 

“We stand with Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who fought to block this attack on the reproductive rights, freedom, and autonomy of people across the country,” the statement said. 

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said his team is looking into the legality of the restrictions.

“While the Justice Department urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion, we will continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the FACE Act, 18 U.S.C. § 248,” the department said.

Regional Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.