City Council commemorates Roe v. Wade anniversary with 'abortion' resolution

Before Thursday's Austin City Council meeting, District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool announced "item 45" on the agenda.  A resolution connected to the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

"As a senior in high school in 1973 it made all the difference in the world for me and my girlfriends and their boyfriends," Pool said. 

Some of the verbiage from the resolution: "City Council recognizes the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade; recognizes a woman's right to make the decision to access safe, affordable reproductive health care services, which may include decisions related to abortion as an essential component of health care."

"It's important to understand that abortion is a medical procedure.  It is a healthcare decision that is a woman's personal decision," Pool said.

Heather Busby with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas helped bring the resolution to City Council and a similar one to the Travis County Commissioners Court earlier this week.

"Today is really about declaring that abortion is healthcare and showing that the majority of Texans do not support restrictions on access to abortion," Busby said.

Council Member Pio Renteria showed his support.  He says 2 of his granddaughters are pregnant.

"I told them that whatever decision you make, that's going to be your decision and not mine so that's the way I see it," Renteria said.

Council Member Ellen Troxclair voted against it.  She says things like this just cause disagreement and anger and don't move the ball forward on affordability or traffic.

"A lot of times this City Council gets caught up in passing politically motivated resolutions that have no real impact.  And I just think taxpayers in general are wanting us to focus on the many real issues that are facing the city and the things that we can absolutely control," Troxclair said.

Rewinding a bit to Tuesday's Commissioner's Court meeting, Precinct 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty voiced some concern over the verbiage of that resolution.  He says several years ago he had voted in favor of a similar women's health resolution.

"This one is a little problematic for me because it has "abortion" in it 7 times.  And there's no more electrifying subject matter I think in this community especially today," Daugherty said.

Daugherty asked Judge Eckhardt to postpone the vote until next week so they could work on making some changes to the resolution to get a unanimous vote.

Circling back to Thursday's City Council meeting, Council Member Ora Houston mentioned what happened at Commissioners Court and wished she could have worked on the language as well.  Even though Houston says she is a supporter of Planned Parenthood and abortion, she abstained from the vote.

"There are some things in here that are just in people's faces.  I said it at the work session on Tuesday.  Everybody does not agree with me and my position on safe, legal abortions and so out of respect to them...you all know where I am...but I'm going to abstain on this particular item," Houston said.

Nicole Hudgens with Texas Values told Fox 7 in a statement: "There is a large and growing number of Austin and Travis County taxpayers who oppose abortion and do not want their elected officials using public resources to support the killing of unborn human lives.  We thank County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty and City Council members Ellen Troxclair and Ora Houston for standing up for those who are against abortion on demand."

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