The city does not dedicate resources to abortion investigations
San Marcos police will not dedicate city resources to investigating abortion, according to Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp.
Stapp spoke with the San Marcos City Council during a discussion on abortion rights protection where he pointed to an administrative directive issued to the San Marcos Police Department by Chief of Police Stan Standridge.
“The Department will not investigate crimes related to elective abortion unless an abortion or attempted abortion results in death or serious injury to the intended mother unrelated to a legal medical procedure,” indicates the administrative directive.
“The intent, I think, of this administrative directive is to make it clear to officers that we’re not spending city funds, human resources to investigate abortions,” Stapp told council members on Tuesday. “We will always investigate any deaths that do occur, which may have been the result of illegal activities. So he leaves that option on the table.
The city council’s discussion about abortion came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The court ruling brought into effect Texas’ ‘trigger law’ which will ban all abortions in the state except only to save the life of a pregnant patient or if the patient is at risk of ‘substantial impairment’ of a bodily function.
Council members Maxfield Baker and Alyssa Garza put the item on Tuesday’s agenda. Baker pointed to measures taken by the Austin City Council — the GRACE Act — that limits the enforcement of abortion laws in Texas.
Legislation passed by the Austin City Council amends the City of Austin’s municipal code to “prohibit discrimination based on reproductive health actions for housing, public housing, employment and employment by contractors This means that no one can be fired, evicted, denied housing or a job for having an abortion.
The GRACE Act also prevents city funding from being used to catalog reports of abortions, miscarriages, or other health procedures. The law also “establishes equitable access to contraception as essential to family planning, reproductive freedom, and public health,” and directs the Austin City Manager to review the “feasibility of providing employees of the city benefits, such as travel and accommodations, to help ensure they have access to abortions and other reproductive services that are no longer available in the state.
“As we’ve seen in the news and in our headlines, the need for cities to do something in counterpoint to the legislation that’s been passed in Texas is okay,” Baker said.
Baker raised concerns that the funding would be used by the city to prosecute or investigate anyone who has an abortion.
“We’re talking about how our police are at their wit’s end and forcing this on them in the context of all the other things that are going on,” Baker said before Mayor Jane Hughson added that it’s not something the city should be looking for.
“That’s the thing, okay, everything is so new that our community members are scared,” Baker said. “They don’t know whether or not the police are going to pursue this or where it will land on their priority list.”
During public comments on Tuesday, a woman, whose name is Daily recording chose not to share, said she had recently had an illegal abortion.
“As I speak, I’m still bleeding from an illegal abortion I had last week,” the woman said, stopping to cry. She added that she didn’t find out she was pregnant until seven weeks and said she went to a free clinic which “presented itself as bipartisan and an unbiased resource for everyone”.
“I told them that I was in a verbally and emotionally toxic relationship with what would have been the father, and that I’m not ready to have a child, and they still made me hear the heartbeats and tried to convince me to fix things,” she said later, adding that she was always afraid to have a medical exam “to make sure I passed the fetus properly and safely. , because I’m afraid they’ll arrest me for manipulating him the way I did.”
During the council discussion, council member Jude Prather said the woman’s comments highlight how this issue affects the people of San Marcos.
“During a citizen comment, I thought I heard one of our citizens, a young woman mention that she had an illegal abortion and was still bleeding,” Prather said. “It’s kind of a warning about how this issue is going to affect people in our city. It’s a state problem and Texas has taken this all-or-nothing approach when it’s such a nuanced and complex issue.
Stapp said the administrative directive put in place by Standridge regarding abortions is already in effect for SMPD employees.
“I didn’t realize the San Marcos Police Department was already moving forward with the chief’s memo that it wasn’t a priority or they wouldn’t help investigate or they wouldn’t prosecute. “Prather said. “I think it’s actually a step in the right direction on how we have to deal with this.”
Baker suggested adding links to the city’s website for reproductive health resources and asking the council to consider providing resources for city employees to support access to abortions.
Hughson was concerned about the legality of providing links on the city’s website as well as funding abortions.
“What worries me is that the law says if you help and abet, are we going to be considered helping and abetting by putting a link on our website to what you could do,” Hughson said. “I think we certainly would if we provided money to the government to do this kind of stuff.”
The city council took no formal action on the matter, but was seeking to create a council committee to discuss abortion rights.