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Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

Austin will soon chip in on challenges to Texas' restrictive new abortion law.

Driving the news: Austin City Council members approved a resolution Thursday that directs city staff "to investigate and pursue appropriate legal action" in support of ongoing lawsuits challenging Senate Bill 8.

  • The law allows private citizens to sue health care providers that perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually six weeks after conception and before many women know they're pregnant.

The resolution also would renew the city's "consistent support of reproductive rights" and encourage local businesses "to join the city in opposing the implementation of SB 8."

  • A number of businesses signed on to an open letter in opposition to the law, but many of Central Texas' largest employers have stayed silent.

Flashback: The city has taken similar steps for legislation out of the Capitol.

  • In 2017, the council approved a resolution that directed resources for litigation to challenge Senate Bill 4, which banned so-called "sanctuary cities" by requiring local police to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Austin joined a coalition of cities to support resources for litigation.

What's next: Abortion advocates and city officials will convene this Saturday at the Texas Capitol at 9am for the annual Women's March.

Go deeper

Judge orders police union boss not to comment on Chicago's vaccine mandate

Chicago police officers arrive at the Fraternal Order of Police building on Oct. 13. Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order against the Chicago police union president, barring him from making statements discouraging members from reporting their COVID-19 vaccine status to the city, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The big picture: The order came just hours before the deadline for Chicago city employees to report their vaccination status, but city officials said it would take days for them to determine who got shots and who did not, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

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