Texas Plans Would Fight Using Roads to Reach Abortion Care

Clinics in New Mexico have opened to help out-of-state patients
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2023 3:30 PM CDT
Texas Plans Would Fight Using Roads to Reach Abortion Care
A road cuts through the desert of West Texas.   (Getty/Paul Nolte)

Texas' laws against abortion are among the most restrictive in the nation. But opponents of abortion rights are concerned that women can receive abortions in other states, including adjoining New Mexico—where new clinics have opened to accommodate women traveling from Texas. So communities across Texas are considering making it illegal for people to travel on certain roads through their jurisdiction to receive abortion care, the Washington Post reports. Residents are packing meetings to debate whether the legislation is needed and would harm their communities.

Odessa and Lubbock are among the jurisdictions considering such a strategy, per the Hill. The mayor of Llano, which is considering a measure to keep people driving west from Austin and Round Rock from using the area's highways, conceded that the law would be mostly a symbolic one. "Is it absolutely necessary? No," Marion Bishop said. "Does it make a statement? Yes it does." At a City Council meeting last week, both female members expressed opposition to abortion but caution about the proposal. "I'm not for abortions and that's my personal belief," Kara Gilliland said. "But I cannot sit up here knowing that there are 3,400 other citizens in this town who don't have the same belief necessarily as I do."

The other woman on the council, who's a shop owner, told the crowd she hates abortion. But she once picked up a friend from an abortion clinic in college and thinks about whether someone might have tried to punish her if such an ordinance had existed then. "It's overreaching," Laura Almond said. "We're talking about people here." The council postponed a decision. "This is far from over," said Mark Lee Dickson, an activist leading the effort. "Show up at their businesses with some signs." A woman whose husband is a local pastor said, "I know where Laura works." (More abortion debate stories.)

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