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Portland Pushes Trade and Travel Ban Against Texas Over Its New Abortion Law

The ban on purchases from Texas, as well as travel to the state by city employees, would last until the law was undone.

Pro-choice supporters stage a demonstration in Parliament Square to campaign for women's reproductive rights around the world as a counter-protest to the anti-abortion 'March for Life' taking place alongside on September 4, 2021 in London, England. The demonstrators also expressed solidarity with women in Texas, where a new law prohibits abortions around the sixth week of pregnancy, making it the most restrictive abortion law in the United States.

The Portland, Oregon, city council will vote this Wednesday on a resolution that would ban city employees’ official travel to Texas and prevent any trade from occurring with that state, in response to that state’s recently imposed ban on abortions beyond the sixth week of pregnancy.

The Texas law allows residents to sue other individuals, including abortion providers, if they help a person to procure an abortion in the state, for amounts of up to $10,000 per instance. Earlier this month, the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block implementation of the law, accepting a controversial legal argument that suggests it can remain in place until an individual affected by the law in Texas files a counter lawsuit against someone trying to sue them.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he and the city council would pass an ordinance banning city expenditures from reaching the state of Texas by way of trade because of that state’s newly enacted abortion ban. Such a measure, if it passes, would ban business with the state until it “withdraws its unconstitutional ban on abortion or until it is overturned in court,” the mayor’s office said in a press release.

Wheeler hopes that other communities across the country will impose similar bans on Texas in order to put financial pressure on lawmakers there to change the law.

“We urge other leaders and elected bodies around the nation to join us in condemning the actions of the Texas state government,” the press release added.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) responded to news of Portland’s proposed boycott of the state by calling the city’s leaders “depraved,” and describing the motion as “a complete joke.”

“A boycott will hurt them, not us. Texas’ economy is stronger than ever,” Patrick added.

However, aside from the possibility of other cities, counties and municipal governments taking action against Texas, the state may face other economic fallouts over its abortion ban. A recent survey suggested that the state may face a “brain drain” of new talent in its workforce due to the new restrictions on reproductive rights.

The poll, conducted by PerryUndem, found that two-thirds (66 percent) of college-educated workers wouldn’t relocate for a job if it’s in a state that prohibits abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. Half of the respondents said they’d consider moving out of a state that did so if they were already living there.

Americans overall are opposed to the type of bans that Texas recently implemented. An NBC News Survey from last month found that 54 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal always or most of the time, while only 34 percent said it should be illegal in most cases but allowed in some circumstances, such as rape or incest. (The Texas law, however, is so restrictive that it doesn’t even allow for those exceptions.) Only 8 percent of respondents in that poll said abortion should be banned in all circumstances.