When Texas’ first resolution to deprioritize abortion investigations appeared before Denton City Council members in early June at a council work session, Mayor Gerard Hudspeth and council members Jesse Davis and Chris Watts voiced their disapproval for a variety of reasons: not enough time to discuss it, lack of local public input and no conversations with the Denton police chief, city manager or city attorney to discuss how low-priority enforcement would work once the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Davis called council member Alison Maguire’s proposed resolution a political document: “It serves today a political purpose and not a policy purpose.”
“I’m upset because it’s not necessary,” Hudspeth said. “That’s some outside group that reached out from Austin, reached out to [former council member Deb] Armintor and reached out to Maguire, and she is bringing the heat on all our families. That makes no sense to me.”
That outside group is Local Progress, a network of local elected officials and advocates seeking to push progressive agendas like economic and racial justice issues at the local level.
Local Progress’ current focus is reproductive freedom rights, and the group has been busy behind the scenes at the local and county level, in and out of Texas, to take action to keep their communities safe since the state is unwilling to do so.
“I would say that many people in Texas who have the ability to be pregnant are now at risk,” said Kara Sheehan, the Texas chapter manager of Local Progress. “We are looking to our local officials to lead. Texas passes a lot of laws about what is to be criminalized, and it is irresponsible for us to prioritize investigating and tracking people who receive the care that they need to live their fullest lives.”