The agenda for the Austin City Council meeting to be held on Thursday morning contains a shocking, anti-Life resolution. Item 39 is a resolution that would amend the city’s federal legislative agenda to include support for Planned Parenthood funding and amend the city’s state legislative agenda to support expanding funding for so-called “women’s healthcare.” As the draft of the resolution makes clear, by ensuring access to “a full spectrum of health services” the city council means abortion. The resolution would define the city’s lobbying position at both the state and federal level as expressly advocating for tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood and expanding access to elective abortion in Texas. Austin taxpayers essentially would be paying for de facto Planned Parenthood lobbyists, if this resolution is passed.
This is not the first time the Austin City Council has demonstrated an openly anti-Life policy. In August the city council was forced to pay $480,000 for their discriminatory treatment of pregnancy resource centers. The city council had attempted to force Life-affirming pregnancy centers to post government-issued signage that mischaracterized the centers and their mission. After mediation, the city council members agreed to the settlement and paid the $480,000 for discrimination.
In the latest revelation of the Austin City Council’s anti-Life position, the agenda for the council meeting claims that “the Texas Legislature has passed bills every session that chip away at access to reproductive services.” The bills that “chip away at access” are in fact bills such as the 2011 Sonogram Bill and a Woman’s Right to Know, which ensure informed consent in an elective abortion decision. Also, there is the Pro-Life Omnibus Bill of 2013, HB 2, that protects pain-capable preborn children from a torturous death by dismemberment abortion and ensures higher safety standards for women, holding the abortion industry to the standard of ambulatory surgical centers.
The city council’s position is particularly shocking given the on-going investigations of Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover footage revealing the illegal trafficking of baby body parts. The city council attempts to justify their unflinching support for scandal-ridden Planned Parenthood by stating that “Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care.” They fail to mention that there are a staggering number of federally qualified health centers throughout Texas, far greater in number than the Planned Parenthood affiliates, and that those health centers do not commit abortions. Additionally, for the 2015-2016 state budget Texas legislators significantly increased funding for the Women’s Health Program and Expanded Primary Health Care Program, thereby increasing funding to comprehensive health centers in Texas that do not commit abortions.
In sum, the Austin City Council vows in the drafted amendment to “support any legislation that would maintain or expand funding for Planned Parenthood” and “oppose any legislation that would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood.” While the city council may desire to support women’s healthcare, they appear to succeed in nothing other than supporting Planned Parenthood.
Residents of Austin, please attend the city council meeting scheduled for Thursday at 10 am, and register against Agenda Item 39. Call or email your city council member’s office asking him or her to oppose Agenda Item 39. To find your city council member, click here.