Responding to Alabama's abortion ban

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Leslie Pool
Posts: 147
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:22 pm

Responding to Alabama's abortion ban

Post by Leslie Pool » Sat May 25, 2019 11:11 am

Colleagues:

I wanted to make sure anyone looking for the resolution in the previous thread is able to find it easily here, below. Thank you again for participating in the important dialogue around the resolution I have drafted in response to Alabama’s newly signed anti-abortion law. I believe that the current resolution incorporates the feedback I have received, including insight from community advocates NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Lilith Fund, and Planned Parenthood Greater Texas, such that we have landed on a resolution that I hope you will be proud to support.

These advocates shared many of the concerns that were discussed regarding possible unintended consequences of low-income families and workers who may be affected by an economic boycott. Clearly, any actions we take must be aimed at affecting those who would choose to attack reproductive rights and not hurt the lives and well-being of the women and families who we are fighting to help.

The resolution as written does not call for an immediate boycott; what it does is:
1) reaffirm our longstanding commitment to protect abortion as healthcare,
2) oppose abortion bans, specifically, as a dangerous political attack aimed at marginalized communities,
3) further explore the potential impacts of an economic boycott of Alabama so that we can continue to have data-informed conversations regarding this strategy and leverage our community’s opposition to dangerous new abortion bans,
4) explore ways to proceed with a boycott that would avoid negatively affecting low-income individuals. One creative strategy to make an impact on Alabama without unintended consequences that is outlined in the resolution is to look at how Austin could proceed with boycotting, and encouraging individuals to boycott, those companies that are among the top political donors to the Alabama Governor and the Alabama legislators who voted for the anti-abortion bill, and
5) support the Women’s Health Protection Act, pending federal legislation designed to ensure women throughout the country have access to safe, legal reproductive healthcare.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts throughout this process and I look forward to continuing our work together in solidarity and support of abortion rights to the best of our ability.

This resolution appears on the June 6, 2019, agenda as item 47. You can find the item (and the rest of the agenda) here: https://austintexas.gov/department/city ... EG.htm#047

Leslie
Leslie Pool
Council Member, District 7

Leslie Pool
Posts: 147
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Responding to Alabama's abortion ban

Post by Leslie Pool » Sat May 25, 2019 11:45 am

postscript ... I hope you will join me, my co-sponsors, and key advocates - NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Lilith Fund, and Planned Parenthood Greater Texas - in supporting this resolution. Please let me know if you have any additional feedback - thanks!

Best,

Leslie
Leslie Pool
Council Member, District 7

Steve Adler
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:12 pm

Re: Responding to Alabama's abortion ban

Post by Steve Adler » Wed May 29, 2019 4:44 pm

I strongly condemn the action in Alabama and continue to be a strong supporter of reproductive healthcare. My concerns with using a boycott as a tool are similar to those raised by the posts of Mayor Pro Tem Garza, and Council Members Flannigan, Ellis, and Casar.

Thank you Council Member Pool for drafting and then modifying your resolution that does not prescribe the use of a boycott, but which allows for an analysis.

Is there any support for widening that analysis (you may intend the revised resolution to already include this, but maybe it could be more specific) so as to include an analysis of the pros and cons of alternative affirmative and meaningful action?

Perhaps we could add an additional Resolved clause as follows?

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

In this assessment of the potential impacts of boycotts, the City Manager is directed to consider the pros and cons of using boycotts as a tool as compared to other meaningful and affirmative actions and tools the City Council may use in support of reproductive healthcare. The assessment of potential impacts should include consultation of women’s reproductive healthcare stakeholders both locally, in Texas, and in Alabama and other states where women’s reproductive healthcare is being limited or challenged.”
Mayor

Amy Smith
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:35 pm

Re: Responding to Alabama's abortion ban

Post by Amy Smith » Thu May 30, 2019 3:12 pm

From Council Member Pool:

Mayor Adler,

Thank you for your feedback and I would be happy to include your amendment with a few tweaks and additions.

First, I want to be clear that there are two different types of boycotts being discussed. One is the typical boycotting of staff business travel to Alabama and possibly other states. The other action calls for boycotting, and encouraging others to boycott, companies that rank among the top political donors of Alabama Gov. Ivey and the legislators who voted for the horrendous anti-abortion legislation in Alabama. We all agree this anti-abortion legislation is a travesty and this type of boycott would be a direct response to those responsible.

While I certainly expect that weighing the pros and cons compared to other actions would be included in studying the impacts of a boycott, I think your suggestion to explicitly state that is a good idea. I would just like to be clear that we should study the pros and cons of both types of boycotts laid out in the resolution. As such, my suggested revision would read:

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
In this assessment of the potential impacts of boycotting staff business travel to Alabama or of boycotting companies that rank among the top political donors to the Alabama governor or the legislators who voted for the anti-abortion bill, the City Manager is directed to consider the pros and cons of using either type of boycott as a tool as compared to other meaningful and affirmative actions and tools the City Council may use in support of reproductive healthcare. The assessment of potential impacts should include consultation of women’s reproductive healthcare stakeholders both locally, in Texas, and in Alabama, and other states where women's reproductive healthcare is being limited or challenged.”

I would also request the City Manager explore other meaningful and affirmative actions the city could take in addition to the boycotts. Taking the time to explore all the possible steps we could take may prove to be beneficial in determining our actions. There may be some creative ideas out there, or some that our staff come up with, that we are not currently considering. Therefore, I suggest adding the following Resolved:

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
The City manager is directed to explore any meaningful and affirmative actions Austin can take to fight against the string of anti-abortion bills that have passed or are pending in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah, and Texas.”

I do not think, at this point, we need to view this as an either/or situation between boycotts or any other action we may decide to take. I believe any steps we could take to help make a difference should be considered, and now is the time to examine what actions are most likely to have a positive impact. I would then hope we decide as a body for Austin to make as big and as strong a statement as possible, and we do everything we can to fight for reproductive rights in Alabama and throughout the country, be it boycotting companies or business travel, or some other meaningful actions, or all of the above.

Again, thank you, Mayor, and all of my colleagues for your feedback on this important issue.

Best,

Leslie
Policy Advisor
Office of Leslie Pool, District 7

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