Former council member suing Austin over abortion access money

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Former Austin city council member Don Zimmerman has filed a lawsuit against the city over abortion assistance dollars allocated in the budget.

The city recently approved $150,000 to go toward services like transportation, childcare and counseling for women seeking an abortion.

MORE: Austin City Council support using tax dollars for abortion assistance

The lawsuit names not only the city of Austin, but Mayor Steve Adler, the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, the Bridge Collective ATX, and Fund Texas Choice.

Zimmerman called the $150,000 “unlawful expenditures of public funds.”

The lawsuit says the money violates a 1961 Texas statute that imposes criminal liability on anyone who “furnishes the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended.”

Austin City Council member Greg Casar, a proponent of the abortion access money, issued this comment on the lawsuit:

“I didn’t know if I was reading a lawsuit or if it was a satire piece in The Onion. The lawsuit reads like Zimmerman just stepped out of a misogynist time machine, and he doesn’t realize that things like abortion, interracial marriage, and birth control are suddenly all legal now.”

Casar added that the 1961 statute has been unconstitutional for decades, due to Roe v. Wade.

The lawsuit argues that the statute has never been repealed due to changes in Federal law and is still on the books in Texas.

Zimmerman was unable to do an on-camera interview on Thursday. Questions sent to his email were not answered by the evening.

Organizations are expected to bid for the city’s funding over the next few months.

Fund Texas Choice is one group that already provides transportation or lodging for women seeking an abortion.

In a year,it pays for an average of 425 trips, many for people in rural areas.

It has paid as much as $524.00 a person, or as little as $30.00.

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