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Austin Prepared To Protect Abortion Rights

In Austin, there is one overall priority: to protect abortion rights.

“We must decriminalize abortion,” said Councilmember Chito Vela, who will do everything in his power to combat the Texas trigger law if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

According to KVUE, Vela would direct the Austin Police Department to make criminal enforcement, arrests, and investigations of abortions “its lowest priority” and block the use of City staff or money from investigating or reporting suspected abortions.

“This is not an academic conversation. This is a very real conversation where people’s lives could be destroyed by these criminal prosecutions,” said Vela, who shared the details of the resolution first with POLITICO. “In Texas, you’re an adult at 17. We are looking at the prospect of a 17-year-old girl who has an unplanned pregnancy and is seeking an abortion [being] subjected to first-degree felony charges — up to 99 years in jail — and that’s just absolutely unacceptable.”

The measure is being called the GRACE act or Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone, and it will not be submitted until after the SCOTUS decision is issued.

“The timing is designed so we can craft the best possible response to the final decision, which may have legal specifics contained in it that will affect the wording of the resolution,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to KVUE. 

Vela and his co-sponsors have vowed to get protections into place before the implementation of the Texas trigger ban, which would take effect  30 days after a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe.

The trigger law includes the nation’s harshest criminal penalties on abortion. It would completely ban abortion, making no exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest. Abortion-rights proponents believe it will not only be used to go after abortion providers but also criminalize people who end their own pregnancies with abortion pills.

If “an unborn child dies as a result of the offense,” violators would be punished with a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. It contains an exception only to save the life of the pregnant person.

The Texas legislature will not meet again regularly until next year, and the governor probably won’t call a special session to address the confusing mix of trigger laws. So, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, chaos will reign. 

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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