The Austin City Council has approved a 2021 budget to cut $150 million from the Austin Police Department and to re-allocate those funds to the community, including $250,000 for abortion services.
The all-Democrat council voted unanimously for the budget on Thursday, following a Wednesday meeting in which over 200 community members voiced their support for the measure (or urged for more drastic measures to be passed).
The budget will cut the Austin Police Department funding by $150 million, currently an entire third of the department’s budget.
That money is being redistributed to different sectors of the community, mainly focused on health and mental health, victims of domestic violence, and services to the poor, including abortion services.
“But abortion is not health care,” wrote Texas Right to Life in a post after the vote. “Abortion does nothing to improve the safety or wellness of our communities. A procedure that always ends in the death of a preborn child and leaves women spiritually, mentally, and oftentimes physically scarred cannot be said to promote safety and care.”
In 2019, the Texas Legislature passed a law prohibiting the use of taxpayer money for abortion services. The city of Austin, however, has found a loophole by allocating taxpayer funds toward anything but the abortion procedure itself. Before Thursday’s vote, Austin had a $150,000 budget for transportation, lodging, childcare, and legal services related to an abortion procedure.
Thursday’s vote increases that budget to $250,000.
The city is in contract with Jane’s Due Process, a pro-abortion organization, to use these funds for abortion services. Jane’s Due Process took to Twitter following the budget approval, looking forward to what cities could be next in abortion budget expansion:
Kinda makes us wonder…which city could be next? https://t.co/KzBDT4k4jZ
— Jane's Due Process (@JanesDueProcess) August 17, 2020
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas also took to Twitter to celebrate the new budget, applauding the city’s “commitment to make sure every Austinite can access the abortion care they need.”
The pandemic has exposed the gaps in our care safety nets, and this funding represents a commitment to make sure every Austinite can access the abortion care they need! https://t.co/o9Bh5b1NaL
— Avow – Unapologetic Abortion Advocacy (@avowtexas) August 13, 2020
A press release from Texas Governor Abbott lamented the cuts to the police department’s budget, citing cities who are wrongly placing political agendas above public safety.
“Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk, and paves the way for lawlessness. Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty.”