IssuesLocal NewsStatewide NewsAustin Makes ‘Abortion Logistics’ Funding Official as Two More Towns Become ‘Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn’

Shortly after two Northeast Texas towns passed ordinances outlawing abortion within city limits, the Austin City Council approved a budget amendment funding "logistics" for women seeking abortions.
September 12, 2019
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The city councils in the two small Northeast Texas towns of Omaha and Naples passed ordinances to become “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” at their respective meetings on Monday.

The pro-life ordinance in Omaha passed unanimously and the one in Naples passed in a 5-1 decision.

The city council in Omaha, Texas.

Omaha and Naples become the second and third Texas cities to outlaw abortion, following the measure that passed unanimously in June in the city council of Waskom, another East Texas town.

Since then, such an ordinance was also proposed by the mayor of Mineral Wells, but the city council voted against bringing it up for a discussion in a 5-2 vote.

Some council members there were concerned that such an ordinance would put the city at risk of a lawsuit because of federal court precedent set by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1973).

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Katherine Pitcher, a legislative associate with Texas Right to Life, attended the meeting in Naples on Monday and told the city council that “the ordinance does not contradict the Constitution; rather, it is carefully drafted to protect your preborn citizens from abortion and to protect your city from a lawsuit.”

According to a regional news outlet, both Omaha and Naples have clinic spaces for sale and supporters of the ordinance wanted to make sure that no abortion providers moved into them.

Danny Mills, who gave the only opposing vote in Naples, told the outlet, “I just didn’t see that we could tie up the mayor and cops tending to somebody else’s business.”

In stark contrast to the pro-life ordinances passed in Northeast Texas, the city council of Austin approved a budget amendment on Tuesday setting aside $150,000 to assist women seeking abortions with related logistical costs such as transportation.

The amendment, which was announced at a press conference a few weeks ago, is in response to a law passed by the Texas Legislature earlier in the year that prohibits government entities from funding abortion providers or their affiliates.

Before the law was passed, the city of Austin leased property to Planned Parenthood for the next twenty years at a rate of one dollar per year.

Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, one of the ten council members who voted in favor of the measure and the one who introduced it, told CNN, “Because of these continual barriers that our state puts in front of women for a procedure that is legal, for me this is about the access.”

Jimmy Flannigan was the only member of the Austin City Council to vote against the budget and the abortion amendment.

Also according to CNN, Flannigan said that while he supports abortion access, he believes the amendment’s expenses should be covered by the county, not the city.

Pro-life organizations were dismayed by the city’s decision.

Nicole Hudgens, the director of policy with Texas Values, stated, “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.”

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.