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If passed, Phoenix's abortion resolution would follow a similar measure passed months ago in Tucson

The Phoenix City Council is  expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would direct local law enforcement to deprioritize abortion-ban enforcement. The move came just as an Arizona appeals court blocked enforcement on a Civil War-era law that bans almost all abortion.

If passed, Phoenix would be the second Arizona city to adopt such a resolution. A similar resolution was passed in Tucson in June, after the Supreme Court’s draft decision overturning Roe vs. Wade was leaked. It mandates Tucson Police officers not make arrests under either the 1860s abortion ban or the 15-week abortion ban being discussed now in court.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero says city leaders worked with the Tucson Police Department to draft the resolution. It directs officers to deprioritize 911 calls reporting violations, should they come in, and uses a process called Change of General Orders.

"And General Orders are basically our police officers handbook on how to handle situations," she said.  

Romero says she’s not worried about getting into legal tangles with the state because cities and police departments can direct their own enforcement priorities. In an email, City Attorney Mike Rankin said among other guidelines, the city's resolution directs Tucson police officers not to send an officer to a medical care facility in response to complaints alleging abortion law violations, and that officers will not make physical arrests based on a reported violation. 

The city adopted a different resolution using the Change of General Orders process in response to SB 1070 in 2010. The resolution directed officers to de-prioritize enforcement of the controversial law — which had state law enforcement ask those deemed suspicious of being undocumented to provide proof of citizenship during routine traffic stops.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.