This GOP-Controlled City Is Trying To END Abortion As We Know It
(TheRedWire.com) – Over the last several months, numerous red states across America have enacted new abortion laws. As a result, it’s becoming nearly impossible to obtain an abortion in some parts of the country. In the deep-red state of Texas, officials are waiting on the Supreme Court to decide if Roe v. Wade will stand or fall. If it falls, the Lone Star State’s new trigger law will make its abortion restrictions the most stringent in the country.
While some states look to tighten restrictions on abortions, a few blue cities within those states are seeking ways around the state laws to protect abortion. Count Austin, Texas, among them. Austin has become the most progressive city in the state, despite its status as the state capital. At least one elected city official says the impact of abortion restrictions is not acceptable, and he wants to do something about it.
Austin City Council Tries To Get Around Strict Abortion Laws
Earlier this year, Texas passed a highly restrictive trigger law regarding abortions. It’s called a trigger law because if the US Supreme Court overturns Roe later in June, the new law would take effect 90 days after the High Court’s ruling. If anyone performs an abortion, induces or attempts one, and the unborn baby dies, prosecutors could charge the doctor or person(s) involved with a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison and a $10,000 fine. The only exception is to save the mother’s life.
In response, Austin Democratic Councilmember José “Chito” Vela told POLITICO that he believed there is a way around the trigger law if it goes into effect. He will propose a resolution directing the Austin Police Department to essentially ignore the law by making criminal enforcement, arrests, and abortion investigations a low priority. Additionally, Vela’s proposal would also limit city funds and staff from investigating, cataloging, or reporting abortions.
The question is, does a city government fundamentally have the authority to override a state law? If so, in theory, a city council or local government could ignore virtually any law it wants.
It’s Not Austin’s First Attempt at Getting Around a State Law
An Austin city spokesperson told POLITICO that the city government would enact the resolution if the City Council passed it. It’s not the first time the city has done this sort of thing. In 2020, the city council voted to decriminalize marijuana despite state law barring its use using a similar stunt.
It worked then, so why won’t it work now? Vela told NPR the City Council would need to vote to approve the ordinance. He said proponents have written the abortion proposal to avoid conflict with state law. The Councilman stated his proposal would not legalize abortion or say that state law enforcement couldn’t investigate an illegal abortion. He believes that the trigger law wouldn’t be a priority for city police.
Other cities in Texas say they may pursue similar rules to Austin.
Stay tuned. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will likely challenge any ordinances passed by cities to skirt around the state law.
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