EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – City Representative Alexsandra Annello gave a statement on Wednesday disagreeing with the actions of the Mayor, City Manager, and City Council after they voted down an ordinance that would’ve prevented the city from funding efforts to investigate information on abortions.

Annello was the author of the proposed ordinance that would’ve directed city leaders to create a policy on deprioritizing abortion investigations.

Yesterday, after hours of public testimony, the El Paso City Council ignored the will of the people and voted down a resolution which would have provided much needed security for residents who will seek abortion care and other reproductive services. I want to thank the many residents who came out to support Item 3 yesterday morning and afternoon. I want those people to know I will continue to advocate for you on Council and support you however I can. This fight is not over.

Alexsandra Annello, City Representative

Mayor Oscar Leaser broke the tie in a 5-4 vote on Tuesday at a Special Work Session. The agenda item was authored by Rep. Alexsandra Annello and co-sponsored by Rep. Henry Rivera. Reps. Cassandra Hernandez and Peter Svarzbein also voted in favor.

Reps. Joe Molinar, Isabel Salcido, Claudia Rodriguez, and Zissy Lizarraga voted against it.

It is disappointing to hear comments from City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and Mayor Oscar Leaser stating
their own belief that we as a city do not have the authority to set our own priorities or determine how our
resources will be used. Item 3, if passed, would not supersede state law, but would determine how the City
of El Paso would deprioritize enforcement of the abortion ban so that staff and local police can focus on
keeping our communities safe. The City of El Paso should not be used as a tool of surveillance against
persons seeking reproductive health care. I am extremely disappointed in Mayor Lesser for breaking
yesterday’s tie, allowing women and health care providers to continue to live in fear of what will come next
in the criminalization of abortion.

Alexsandra Annello, City Representative

The item that was at issue stated the following:

Discussion and action to direct the City Manager and City Attorney to create the appropriate Ordinance and/or City Policy which honors and protects the right of pregnant women/individuals, to include the following:

  • Taxpayer dollars will not be used frivolously for programs or efforts to criminalize women/individuals who seek an abortion.
  • City funds will not be used to solicit, catalog, report, or investigate reports of abortion.
  • Police should make investigating abortion their lowest priority.

Statement from Representative Annello:

I’m proud that our Council supported our initiative to create a non-discrimination ordinance that will protect reproductive decisions, but there is so much more we must do. Our role as local government is to ensure that our communities are safe, and that includes access to the health care they need to thrive. We cannot stand idly by while our state and our federal government continue to fail our communities, undermining bodily autonomy, and putting lives at risk – especially because we know it is Black, Indigenous, people of color, working families, and our trans and queer neighbors that are harmed most by these restrictions. We have tools available to us as a City Council to put forward proactive policies to protect abortion access and I urge my colleagues to support future efforts. This is not the end of our work and I will do everything in my power to continue pushing for these protections, including working with our District Attorney to join other Texas DAs who have pledged not to prosecute those seeking or providing abortions, allocate funding to support people who will have to travel out of state to access abortions, and work with our newly formed Women’s Commission to ensure all El Pasoans are protected, have the most up to date information, and can easily find and access the care they need. Together, we must ensure everyone has the reproductive health care they need. We aren’t truly free unless we can control our own bodies, lives, and futures.

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, videos, and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.