The City of Austin will be the first city in the USA to use tax money to help low income women get abortions.
Council has approved an item in its 2020 budget to pay for 'logistical services,' including transportation, day care, and counseling. $150,000 in tax money is earmarked for the program.
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.”
Taxpayer money will not be used to pay for the abortions themselves, which would be a violation of state law and of the federal Hyde Amendment.
Nicole Hudgins, Public Policy Director of the traditionalist group 'Texas Values' blasted the vote.
“It is appalling the city of Austin doubled-down on its policies to ‘save the trees, kill the children.’ This budget amendment is a political stunt attempting to circumvent the law. If the city really wants to help women, they should lower their taxes and stop killing innocent children.”
The Austin vote is part of a continuing effort on the part of progressive groups to bypass the Republican dominated Texas Legislasture and use City Councils in the state's far more liberal large cities to set policy. Last year, workers groups petitioned San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas to approve paid sick leave ordinances, going around the Legislature which had repeatedly declined to approve similar legislation.