PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland City Council scrapped a plan to boycott Texas businesses because of their new law that prohibits most abortions there and instead set aside $200,000 to fund reproductive care.
About a week ago, the council said it would vote to impose a city-wide prohibition on Texas business in response to the state’s restrictive abortion law, but city leaders backpedaled after concerns it could be “punitive to Texans who, are in fact, the most affected” by the abortion law.
The plan to fund the reproductive services passed 4-1. Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioners Dan Ryan, Carmen Rubio and Jo Ann Hardesty all supported it. Hardesty said she wished it went further.
The lone no vote was Commissioner Mingus Mapps — who also opposes the Texas anti-abortion law.
“I do not support the part of this ordinance which makes a $200,000 allocation to support reproductive services for women who live in Texas,” Mapps told KOIN 6 News. “This is an inappropriate expenditure for Portland City council. We do not fund healthcare services.”
Mapps also said the City Council was “way out of our league on this.”
He said it was inappropriate they didn’t evaluate this as part of the larger budget process and since it was an emergency ordinance, he noted, the public didn’t have enough time to weigh in.
“All 3 of those examples are examples of bad government,” he said.
He said he couldn’t explain where the $200,000 would be allocated.
“I did press my colleagues on that and I think what I heard is that because abortions are inaccessible in Texas, we expect pregnant women from Texas to fly to Oregon where they were receive their abortion services. And this $200,000 will help to pay for that,” he said.
Asked if he thinks many women would fly from Texas to Oregon for an abortion, he said no.
“I’m not an expert in this field. Frankly it strikes me as a little bit improbable.”
Mapps, a first-term city commissioner, said Portland is facing a number of crises — guns, violence, homelessness, climate change and the ongoing pandemic. He thinks the City Council should keep their focus on fixing Portland’s problems.
“I talk to Portlanders every day and I’ve heard them loud and clear,” Mapps said. “They’re pissed off. They’re disappointed in the performance of government.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report