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City Council approves resolution barring police from assisting out of state abortion investigations

abortion protest.JPG
Rebecca White
Protesters demonstrated outside of Spokane City Hall on Monday to call on Mayor Nadine Woodward to instruct the police department to not participate in out of state investigations of abortions.

The Spokane City Council has passed a resolution barring police officers from using city resources to assist with out of state abortion investigations.

Abortion providers in Washington state say they’re already seeing an increase in patients from Idaho, as more abortion restrictions go into effect.

They say they fear states that have outlawed abortions will attempt to criminalize people who cross state lines for the procedure.

Spokane city councilwoman Lori Kinnear says the city’s police department should be focused on crime in neighborhoods, not people from other states.

“This resolution is upholding the law in the state of Washington.” She said, “I do not want to spend to city resources investigating women who come here for healthcare resources. It’s that simple.”

Two city council members opposed the resolution, including Jonathan Bingle. He proposed an amendment to call on Congress to grant fetuses legal personhood rights.

“I actually do believe this is a Federal issue, I don't believe this should be a state issue.” He said. “I think this is the human rights issue of our day.”

The resolution is non-binding, which means Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward does not have to enforce it. In a statement Friday, she said the resolution is a state and Federal issue.

Around 80 people commented on the resolution, many also arguing the city shouldn’t involve itself in the abortion debate, or sharing they were morally opposed to the procedure. Several community members did comment in support as well, saying the city should make it clear that Spokane is a safe, legal place to obtain an abortion.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.