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Austin City Council moves to de-prioritize prosecuting abortions

(Council Member Chito Vela/Twitter)

Austin City Council unanimously approved resolutions to decriminalize abortion within city limits during a special meeting Thursday.


It comes almost a month after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion. Council Member Mackenzie Kelly was absent.

Following the passage of the “Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone,” or GRACE Act, Council Member Jose “Chito” Vela celebrated the move on the plan he’d pushed forward along with co-sponsor Vanessa Fuentes.

“Nobody in Austin will be persecuted for their choices by the city,” Vela tweeted.

It may lower concerns among healthcare providers who have faced a chilling effect under Texas’ abortion laws and for those who seek abortion-inducing medication, reporting by the Texas Tribune notes. However, clinics could face state licensure and other consequences for providing abortions, pushing them to comply with Texas’ abortion ban.

The resolutions call for the following:

  • Amend city code to prohibit discrimination based on reproductive health decisions, making so someone cannot be fired, evicted, denied housing or denied a job for getting an abortion.
  • Prevent city funding from being used to catalog reports of abortion, miscarriage or other healthcare acts.
  • The city manager is directed to explore the ability to conduct a public education program about long-term birth control with the help of local health partners.
  • The city manager is directed to address the feasibility of helping city employees with travel expenses and other benefits to access abortions and other reproductive services not available in state.

Asking police to treat abortion as the lowest priority for investigations is a recommendation by the city council, as the department cannot be ordered by council to adopt it. The Austin Police Department has not yet issued a statement in response to council’s vote.

Other Texas cities have followed Austin’s example, with Denton and Waco city councils considering their own acts.

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway