Austin city leaders support budget funding for abortion assistance programs

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Four Austin city council members plan to support funding for abortion assistance in next year’s budget.

Up to $150,000 would be used to pay for services like transportation, childcare and counseling for women seeking an abortion.

One example of a service provided would be rides to and from a clinic.

Austin is taking this route because Texas lawmakers have made it illegal for local tax dollars to directly support abortion providers.

But pro-choice non-profit The Lilith Fund tells KXAN there is still a large demand for abortion support services.

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar is one of the co-sponsors of the budget amendment that leaders will announce Monday.

He says the money will help local women navigate the barriers to get an abortion, citing the lost wages and cost of childcare.

“The state has passed laws trying to make it more difficult for people to access abortion and more difficult for the city to support,” said Casar. “In some ways, this is the city fighting back.”

Organizations offering these services would bid for the money, which would be issued through the city’s Public Health Department.

Pro-life advocates also weighed in on the city’s initiative, saying there are better ways for Austin to spend the money.

“Central Texas has some 23 providers of compassionate alternatives to abortion,” said Joe Pojman, Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life. “That’s the place the city of Austin should be spending its money.”

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