Austin City Council members announce support of using tax dollars for abortion assistance

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council members were joined by advocates at City Hall Monday afternoon when they announced their proactive budget measure to protect residents’ access to abortion services.

MORE: Austin leaders support budget funding for abortion services

Last week, four city council members announced they planned to support up to $150,000 of city money being used to support transportation, childcare and counseling for women seeking abortions.

Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza attended alongside council members Greg Casar, Leslie Pool and Paige Ellis, who were joined by representatives of several abortion rights advocate groups, including the Lilith Fund and Fund Texas Choice.

(KXAN/Todd Bynum)

Under the budget, local tax dollars would help pay for services like rides to and from a clinic. Under Texas law, it is illegal for local tax dollars to directly support abortion providers, so city council members say their decision aims to work around the barriers put in place.

“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.”

Just last month, the Trump Administration announced it would begin enforcing a regulation that would make it illegal for taxpayer-funded family planning clinics to refer women for abortions. Meanwhile, stateside, a bill was floated in May that would bar Texas cities or counties from partnering with clinics that provide abortions. The Texas city of Waskom also passed an abortion ban in June, which was seen as symbolic as the city had no clinics performing abortions.

Abortion has been legal in all 50 states since the Supreme Court ruled to protect women’s rights to an abortion in the Roe v. Wade case in 1973.

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