From the Politics Desk: Here’s what you missed, September 11

Cop City protestors indicted, Mexico decriminalizes abortion, Western Pennsylvania holds special election

Man with beard holds sign at protest.

‘Cop City’ protestors indicted on RICO charges.

Over 60 protestors were indicted on Aug. 29 under Georgia state racketeering law for protesting the construction of the Atlanta Police Public Safety Training Center, named “Cop City” by opponents.

The indictment released on Sept. 5 named 61 individuals in alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law that targets criminal conspirators and can hike up criminal punishments. Protesters who back the Stop Cop City movement oppose the further militarization of police and the environmental impacts of this project on the Weelaunee Forest, an urban forest surrounded by mostly Black residents, according to their website.

“Based in Atlanta, this anarchist, anti-police and environmental activism organization coordinates, advertises, and conducts ‘direct action’ designed to prevent the construction of the Atlanta Police Public Safety Training Center and Shadow Box Studio (previously known as Blackhall Studios) and promote anarchist ideas,” said Attorney General Chris Carr in the 106-page indictment.

The Cop City Vote coalition responded saying the RICO charges are “blatantly authoritarian” and that it is an attack on the right to protest and freedom of speech.

“These charges, like the previous repressive prosecutions by the State of Georgia, seek to intimidate protestors, legal observers, and bail funds alike, and send the chilling message that any dissent to Cop City will be punished with the full power and violence of the government,” the coalition said in a statement.

Mexico joins an increasing number of Latin American nations to expand reproductive rights

The Mexican Supreme Court voted unanimously to decriminalize abortion on the federal level. Although laws to restrict abortion remain at the state level, people in those states can receive treatment at federally-ran medical facilities without being penalized by state laws.

On the state level, just 12 of 32 Mexican states have removed abortion from their penal codes, decriminalizing the medical act, demonstrating a shift in public opinion. The expansion of reproductive rights south of the U.S. border could make Mexico an important destination for Americans seeking abortions, according to Reuters.

Western Pennsylvania special election to determine who takes control of the State House

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will face a special election on Sept. 19 to tip majority power towards Democrats or Republicans. Voters will elect a state House representative in a Pittsburgh district, where the Democratic party has a stronghold, according to Penn Live.

The House is currently left at a 101-101 split after former state Rep. Sara Innamorato stepped down in July. Democrat Lindsay Powell and Republican Erin Connolly Autenreith are in the race.

The state Senate has a Republican majority.