Portland City Employees May Be Banned From Traveling to Texas in Boycott Over Abortion Law

Portland, Oregon city employees might be banned from traveling to Texas as part of a boycott against a new law there that prohibits most abortions, should a draft emergency resolution be passed by the Portland City Council.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's office originally expected the draft emergency resolution to be presented during a City Council meeting on Wednesday, but the vote has been postponed until next week.

If passed, the resolution would ban the purchase of goods and services from Texas in addition to barring city employees from traveling to the state. Wheeler's office said the vote on the resolution was being postponed to "best understand the impact of" the ban.

In a statement released by Wheeler's office on Friday, the abortion ban was accused of being unconstitutional and the statement said it "violates the separation of church and state."

"This law does not demonstrate concern for the health, safety, and well-being of those who may become pregnant," the statement read. "This law rewards private individuals for exercising surveillance and control over others' bodies."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Texas Abortion Law Protest
Portland, Oregon city employees might be barred from traveling to Texas if the Portland City Council passes a draft emergency resolution boycotting Texas over the new abortion law. Protestors hold signs at a reproductive rights rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall on September 1 in Downtown Brooklyn in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Heather Hafer, a spokeswoman with the Office of Management and Finance, told The Oregonian/OregonLive the city of Portland has linked nearly $35 million in contracts with Texas-based businesses during the last five years.

In addition, Portland employees have made 19 separate trips to Texas on official business since 2019, Hafer said.

"We urge other leaders and elected bodies around the nation to join us in condemning the actions of the Texas state government," read a statement from Wheeler's office last week.

Following news of the potential boycott, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick took to Twitter during the Labor Day weekend describing Oregon's most populous city as a "dumpster fire" and calling Portland city leaders "depraved."

"Portland boycotting Texas is a complete joke. A city led by depraved officials allows lawlessness, putting their citizens in grave danger," Patrick tweeted. "A boycott will hurt them, not us."

The new Texas law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks—before some people know they're pregnant. Courts have blocked other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas' law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement up to private citizens through lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.

The Supreme Court's decision this past week not to interfere with the Texas law has provoked outrage from liberals and cheers from many conservatives.

Wheeler said the resolution, if passed, would be in effect until Texas either withdraws the abortion law or it gets overturned in court.