Ten San Antonio City council members voted to force taxpayers to pay the travel expenses of women seeking an abortion outside of Texas.  

With 10 voting in favor and one abstaining, the council approved the ‘Reproductive Justice Fund,’ which will distribute money to various nonprofits providing “reproductive healthcare.” The councilmembers allocated $500,000 of the city’s $3.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2024 to the fund.

Currently, the City of San Antonio’s fiscal health is a concern for taxpayers. 

According to taxpayer watchdog Truth in Accounting’s 2023 State of the Cities Report, while their total debt has decreased by more than $705 million since 2020, the city still needs more than $707 million in additional monies to pay all of their bills. “Bottom line: San Antonio would need $1,700 from each of its taxpayers to pay all of its bills, so it has received a ‘C’ for its finances,” the group stated. 

The fund was supported by pro-abortion groups like The Lilith Fund, which aims to “provide direct financial and emotional support to Texans forced to travel to access abortions.”  The Lilith Fund strives to “foster a positive culture around abortion” and currently services the Austin, Houston, and San Antonio areas.

Councilmember Teri Castillo supported the fund, claiming it is crucial “to support the individual rights of residents to seek the reproductive health care that they need.”

“Last year, our city made clear we are committed to protecting the rights of its residents to make reproductive healthcare decisions, including abortion care for themselves.”

However, while most councilmembers shared her sentiment and were adamant about passing the budget, many citizens spoke out against it. 

“You can say the words reproductive justice as though you are helping your people, but the reality is the organizations that will receive these funds, if this time is confirmed, are pro-abortion. They are pro-starving, dismembering, and ending the lives of the most innocent human beings. All in the name of choice,” said Faith Elwonger, the Texas regional coordinator for Students for Life of America. “If passed, some in our community will never be born, and funds that could otherwise be put toward empowering women will be lost.”

Councilmember Mark Whyte, who abstained from the vote, also disapproved of the fund, saying, “The city government should not be allocating funds for abortion.”

Councilmember John Courage also spoke out against the fund, saying it is “The issue of city funds being used for abortion services in any way would be unprecedented. The city in the past has never provided funding for any services related to abortion even when it was legal.” 

Whyte proposed an amendment to the budget asking that the $500,000 fund be restricted from being used for the murder of unborn children or “access to abortion.”

However, the amendment failed in a 9-2 vote, with only councilmembers Whyte and Courage voting in favor. 

Despite Courage voting in favor of Whyte’s amendment, he voted alongside the other councilmembers in favor of the budget proposal as it is.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.