If Roe is overturned, Atlanta officials want APD investigations to be ‘lowest priority’

Atlanta City Councilmembers Jason Dozier (left) and Liliana Bakhtiari convene during the council's in-person meeting at City Hall on March 7, 2022. (Atlanta City Council Office of Communications)

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Atlanta City Councilmembers Jason Dozier (left) and Liliana Bakhtiari convene during the council's in-person meeting at City Hall on March 7, 2022. (Atlanta City Council Office of Communications)

The Atlanta City Council is set to request that Atlanta police make investigations into abortions their “lowest possible priority” if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A resolution advanced by a council committee this past week also asks that no city funds be used to record or track where abortions are occurring, or provide such information to another government agency.

In 2019, Georgia’s Legislature passed a restrictive abortion law outlawing the procedure in most cases once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant. That law could take effect if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that guaranteed the right to an abortion nationwide, is overturned by the Supreme Court, as a recently leaked draft of a ruling indicates.

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“We have some form of a trigger law already on the books here with the six-week ban,” Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari said during the committee meeting.

Bakhtiari, who proposed the measure with 10 cosponsors, said it is “asking the administration to direct APD to deprioritize this as a crime, and just put it lower on the priority list, to do all that we can to protect people’s right to choose.”

It requests that Atlanta police make reports and investigations under the state abortion law the “lowest priority for enforcement and the use or assignment of resources and personnel, except in cases where coercion or force is used against the pregnant person.”

The resolution, expected to be voted on by the full council on Tuesday, is non-binding, with the Atlanta police chief charged with setting policy for the department.