SAN ANTONIO — One of the 2024 budget proposals supported by a majority of the San Antonio City Council calls for creating a $500,000 fund to help women access reproductive healthcare, including out-of-state abortions.
District 5 City Councilmember Teri Castillo said the Reproductive Justice Fund aligns with the mission of a resolution passed one year ago.
“We know with the overturning of Roe v. Wade women’s reproductive rights continue to be undermined and chipped away at,” Castillo said. “The City of San Antonio passed a right to reproductive healthcare resolution, which passed 9-2. Our office did champion that resolution and with that, the City of San Antonio committed to prioritizing access to health care including access to abortion."
The Reproductive Justice Fund is one of more than 60 proposed amendments to the 2024 budget, which would utilize money from the $20 million in CPS Energy surplus funds. On Thursday, the council will consider adopting the $3.7 billion budget after months of preparation.
Castillo said the Metropolitan Health District would disperse the $500,000 in the form of grants to multiple non-profits that provide reproductive healthcare assistance. Such organizations include the Lilith Fund and Jane’s Due Process, which provide financial assistance for those seeking out-of-state abortions. Castillo noted the dollars could also go toward expanding access to birth control and testing for sexually transmitted infections.
District 10 City Councilmember Marc Whyte praised the overall city budget for tackling homelessness and adding 105 new police officers. But Whyte, who is anti-abortion, said he’s opposed to the idea of allocating any amount of taxpayer dollars to funding abortions performed outside Texas.
“This is an eleventh hour amendment that some folks are trying to sneak into the budget,” Whyte said. “We should use this money on infrastructure. We could use this money in a host of different ways that would go to benefit our citizens here in San Antonio.”
Castillo stressed the Reproductive Justice Fund does not violate any laws.
“There’s nothing criminal about the current proposal. In order to receive city funding you are required to follow state law,” Castillo said.
In February, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that out-of-state abortions cannot be prosecuted by Texas authorities. As a result of the ruling, abortion funds began resuming services.
Abortion has been banned in Texas since 2021 after the passage of Senate Bill 8. The legislation prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy with the only exception to save a mother’s life.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively stripping the constitutional right to abortion nationwide and leaving the issue up to state governments.
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