DENTON, Texas — Overnight update:
The Denton City Council late Tuesday night voted 4-3 to pass a resolution saying the city will de-prioritize abortion investigations. The resolution came after hours of public discussion and intense debate between abortion-rights advocates and protestors.
Denton community activist Deb Armintor spent the week organizing a demonstration in response to the overturning of Roe v Wade. The high court's decision hit her pretty hard.
“It hit hard. Like a lot of people, I was prepared for it. But as a person with a uterus and a mother to a daughter, as a former city councilperson and an activist,” said Deb Armintor, "I just immediately felt it was just a punch to the gut.”
So, Armintor used her influence to get Denton city leaders to take the same action as another Texas city.
"We saw that we activists, local activists, saw that Austin was passing a similar measure. And we immediately said, let's do this for Denton,” said Deb Armintor.
Tuesday afternoon, Denton City Council held a closed work session to discuss how law enforcement would respond to reports about ongoing abortions in their city. The resolution basically tells Denton police to deprioritize investigations at abortion clinics.
Since the City Manager oversees local law enforcement, the language for the resolution involves deprioritizing what’s defined as city resources to investigate reported activity at local healthcare clinics related to reproductive healthcare
Vandals have already used spray paint at two Denton health clinics like the Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center. Vandals did similar damage using spray paint to The Loreto House in Denton on May 7, according to city leaders. A member of the council shared they received information a pro-life group took credit for the vandalism on social media.
Still, during the Tuesday night council meeting, Deb has organized a protest in the City Hall courtyard. She is also giving step-by-step instructions to protest participants on how to contact each council member in order to have an impact on the council’s future decisions surrounding the issue.
"There will be a few speakers. It's going to be pretty brief,” said Deb Armintor.
Current City Councilwoman Alison Maquire told WFAA she plans to speak at the protest being held in the City Hall courtyard Tuesday evening. But that’s the least of her worries. Maquire is under threat of losing her position on the council.
The same closed work session included council consulting with the City’s attorneys regarding ordering a recall election for the purpose of determining whether Maquire shall be removed from District 4 of the City Council. During the work session, Maquire sat outside the conference room and waited to be called in for questions by fellow council members.
The protest she plans to speak at is not the first since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Dozens attended a demonstration last week in Denton which ended peacefully.
Rebecca Parma from Texas Right to Life and her team are monitoring the actions in Denton, including demonstrations. They are in favor of protests no matter what side of the issue you are on.
"We are very much in favor of peaceful protesting,” said Rebecca Parma.
The Denton council resolution comes as no surprise to Texas Right to Life and they consider it as part of an ongoing challenge. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, Parma and Right to Life teams across the state and the country encourage law enforcement to uphold the law.
They consider the recent decision by the Justices the beginning of a long journey that is far from over when it comes to saving the lives of unborn babies in America, and not just Texas.
"We want to expand that enforcement mechanism that the Texas Heartbeat Act has used that has been so effective to other parts of Texas law when it comes to pro-life laws to make sure these laws are fully enforced,” said Parma.
Texas Right to Life is inviting others who want to speak up for unborn babies to join them for not only peaceful protest, but also contacting their elected officials on the local, state and federal levels.