The answer is Austin, Texas. The first city in the United States to fund ‘logistical services’ for women to get an abortion with tax money is Austin, Texas. The taxpayers’ money will not directly pay for abortions – that would violate state law – so on Tuesday the Austin City Council did a go-around of state law.
The city council voted in favor of an item in the 2020 budget that distributes $150,000 to assist low-income women with logistical services in order to help them get abortions. These services include transportation, daycare, travel, and counseling. Since Texas law doesn’t allow abortion clinics to be funded in the state budget, this is how Austin will go around that obstacle. The Austin councilwoman who sponsored the resolution said restrictions on abortion doesn’t represent Texans’ values. That will be news to many Texas women.
Councilwoman Leslie Pool, who sponsored the resolution, says as Republicans in Texas chip away at abortion rights, it is important to make sure that all women have ‘access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion.’
“Here we are at Austin City Hall, a mile away from the state capitol, and yet we couldn’t be farther apart on our values when it comes to expanding access to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion,” Pool said. ” It’s a shame that as the years go by, more restrictive laws go into place, chipping away at Roe v. Wade and women in our community have less access to abortion care. This proposal will make sure that Austinites who need an abortion can access that care.”
The action seems to be in response to Senate Bill 22, a new state law prohibiting local and state government from giving taxpayer dollars to abortion providers and their affiliates. That law went into effect on September 1. Planned Parenthood was given a sweetheart deal on rent for its east Austin clinic by the city. The rent was set at $1 per year. Senate Bill 22 was partially in response to that deal.
This action by the Austin City Council is being called a political stunt by opponents. Donna Campbell, the Texas State Senator who is the primary author of Senate Bill 22, said she will be working with the Texas State Attorney General on this development. Campbell is an emergency room physician.
The pro-abortion crowd denies that the City Council’s vote was about Senate Bill 22. It’s a “creative way” for those seeking abortions to have access, you see. It’s a decision based on what the community “needs”.
Aimee Arrambide, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said the funding isn’t a response to SB 22, rather a creative way for Austin to make sure its community has access to abortion healthcare.
“It’s more a direct response to the combination of abortion bans that have been passed throughout the year and the abortion bans sweeping the country rather than being a direct result of SB 22,” Arrambide said.
The City Council worked with Arrambide and other leaders of abortion-rights organizations following abortion bans in states including Georgia and Alabama. The coalition suggested funding incidental costs through organizations who help women gain access to the procedure since it doesn’t interfere with state laws.
“I don’t make decisions based on what the Legislature wants, I make decisions based on what our community needs,” said Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, who led the amendment along with Council Member Gregorio Casar.
This is the trend. Pro-abortion advocates are looking for ways to undo legislative actions in individual states, usually red states. I have written about this twice over the course of last summer. In June, I wrote about a Michigan hotel that offered free lodging to women traveling from out of state for an abortion. In August it was pre-paid gas cards issued by an abortion group to women so they could drive to an abortion provider. The Austin City Council upped the game and successfully voted to spend tax money to help women obtain abortions. Look for other liberal cities to follow.