Atlanta resolution offers protection against abortion crimes

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Medical professionals and people seeking abortions in Atlanta received a new layer of protection Tuesday afternoon after Atlanta city council members unanimously passed a resolution.

The resolution designates abortion crimes as the lowest possible priority for the Atlanta Police Department and bans city funds from investigating alleged abortion crimes, including crime task forces and databases.

Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari introduced the resolution in early June. Bakhtiari said the policy is a safeguard if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe V. Wade, which could open the door for Georgia’s currently blocked “heartbeat law” to take effect.

Hours before the resolution was approved, Atlanta Interim Police Chief Darin Schierbaum addressed how the resolution might impact police.

“The priority is gangs, drugs and guns,” said Chief Schierbaum. “That’s where resources are focused. It’s where expertise of this department is at this moment and that will not change.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens also backed the legislation.

“I agree and support the Atlanta City Council’s efforts in that regard. I don’t believe the Atlanta Police Department should be involved in women’s health concerns,” said Dickens.

People involved in potential abortion crimes would still face some risk, according to attorney Michael Bixon with Bixon Law.

“Even if it gets put to the bottom of the list, it’s still on a list,” explained Bixon. “The resolution only applies to APD, but you still have a ton of other government agencies who could investigate and prosecute these cases.”

Bixon explained agencies like GBI or Fulton County Sherriff’s Office could get involved.

The legislation is also drawing attention outside city limits.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Kirkland Carden told CBS46 he “loves what the Atlanta City Council is doing,” but would wait to see what happens in the Supreme Court before introducing a similar resolution in the county.

South Fulton Councilmember Carmalitha Gumbs said she would consider a resolution with her colleagues’ support.