Austin City Council could decriminalize abortion, combatting Texas 'trigger law'

Austin City Council may try to decriminalize abortions following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.  

The ruling means Texas' Trigger Law will take effect soon, which bans abortions from the moment of fertilization. It criminalizes those who perform or assist in an abortion procedure.

Leaders in Austin are hoping to combat this law with the GRACE Act. The name of the act stands for "Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone."

Councilmembers Vanessa Fuentes and José "Chito" Vela are calling for a special meeting. Vela posted in the City Council Message board Friday following the SCOTUS ruling, requesting that the special meeting be held as soon as possible in order to pass the act. 


"Today is a painful day for our country, and I grieve the violations of bodily autonomy which the Texas state government will soon impose on Austin residents," Vela wrote in the message board. "I welcome any of my colleagues who wish to co-sponsor the GRACE Act, and I hope our city can be a source of grace to those who will be targeted for making what should be a private medical decision."

Under the act, abortion investigations would be the lowest priority for Austin police. It would also restrict funds that would go towards illegal abortion investigations and prosecutions. 

"We understand that we're bound by state laws. We have to take the report. We have to accept the report from the citizen or whoever. However, we don't want to do much more than take the report, ideally," Vela said.

The measure could go before City Council next month.