In what is becoming a recurring ritual, the Austin City Council attacked the Pro-Life movement Thursday, when council members voted on a resolution targeting the recently-enacted Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform. The resolution is based on a plethora of fallacies and myths, ignores the humanity of the preborn child, and is another misinformed episode of squandering taxpayer dollars.
During the special session last year, Texas Right to Life worked with Pro-Life Champions to enact critical Pro-Life reforms to health insurance in Texas. Chairman John Smithee (R-Amarillo) and Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) carried the Pro-Life priority bill that removed elective abortion coverage from being automatically included in the standard package of health insurance benefits in public, private, and state employee plans in Texas. This reform protects Pro-Life Texans from subsidizing abortions with their tax or premium dollars. The law did not ban Texans from buying abortion insurance coverage; rather, abortion insurance coverage may still be purchased as supplemental medical coverage, treated in the same way as dental or vision coverage.
The Austin City Council continued their tradition of shaming Pro-Life Texans—and Pro-Life Austinites—by denouncing the Texas Legislature and calling for the full repeal of Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform. The city council expressed deeply flawed reasoning in their support for the pro-abortion resolution. The fundamental premise of the city council’s resolution is that abortion, like dialysis or chemotherapy, is healthcare. That perception of healthcare is wrong. Genuine healthcare enables the human body to properly function and the human person to flourish. The state of pregnancy is indicative of a woman with a properly functioning reproductive system. Rather than promote health for the woman and her preborn child, abortion halts the reproductive process and takes the life of her preborn child. Elective abortion is not healthcare.
Even if we agreed, for the sake of argument, that abortion was healthcare—their argument then posits that access to abortion must be provided at the taxpayers’ expense. This rationalization forms the basis for the pro-abortion movement’s opposition to the federal Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions in Medicaid. Here, Austin City Council utilizes that same sentiment to protest Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform. They invoke the story of Rosie Jimenez, a Texas resident who died of an abortion in McAllen in 1977 after the Hyde Amendment was added to the federal budget. Her story is undoubtedly tragic but demonstrative of the harms abortion inherently causes women. However, Austin City Council, along with the anti-Life movement, are using her tragic death to perpetuate a politically-expedient myth that women resort to back-alley abortions if elective abortions are not legal and not publicly funded. The truth, which former abortionist Bernard Nathanson illuminated, is that licensed physicians performed the vast majority of abortions in sanitary clinics and hospitals, regardless of the legal status or taxpayer funding of abortion. By ignoring this truth, Austin City Council perpetuates the illusion that repealing current common sense Pro-Life laws is necessary for the well-being of Texas women.
Finally, the resolution noticeably dodges the most ethically significant issue of the abortion debate: the humanity of the preborn. Any honest and serious discussion about elective abortion and whether citizens should be coerced in funding the injustice must ask, “Is the preborn child a human being?” Are preborn children simply contents of the uterus or pregnancy tissue, or are they human beings worthy of that recognition with equal protection under the law? Austin City Council must believe the former, falsely categorizing the Pro-Life movement as unjust aggression against equal access to legitimate healthcare. But science and sensible ethics side with the Pro-Life movement, which concludes that abortion is the unjust killing of innocent human beings. Sadly, this reality is lost on the pro-abortion movement.
Rather than concentrate on other issues facing their residents, the members of the Austin City Council used taxpayer dollars, time, and efforts to make a dishonest, unethical, and unscientific political attack on Life. The Texas Legislature overwhelmingly adopted Pro-Life reforms to health insurance in the state after Pro-Life Texans voiced frustration over the previous system. Austin does not have the power to unilaterally repeal the law, but that didn’t stop them from shilling their anti-Life rhetoric Thursday. Rather than trying to undo the Pro-Life gains of the majority of Texans, the City of Austin should focus resources on other policy issues.