The City Council of Austin, Texas, voted unanimously this week to cut the city police department’s budget and transferred a portion of that funding to groups that help women access abortion.
According to the Texas Tribune, the Council agreed to cut about $150 million from the Austin Police Department’s budget for 2021 after the department faced criticism in the death of an unarmed Black and Latino man in April and for the use of force against people participating in anti-police brutality protests. Instead, that money will go toward social programs that the Council believes will help end racism — including abortion.
$250,000 of the police funding will be rerouted to cover the cost of abortions for underprivileged women, in addition to $23 million in police funding reallocated to pay for “health and social services” which includes “abortion access,” according to Texas Right to Life.
State law prohibits local and state governments from using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. Shortly after that law was passed in 2019, the Austin City Council set aside $150,000 for programs that steer women toward abortion by providing travel, lodging, and childcare for the procedure. For underprivileged women concerned about affording a baby, the promise of having abortion-related expenses covered could add to the pressure they might feel to choose abortion instead of parenting or adoption.
Read more at Live Action