SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Dozens of residents stepped up to the microphone to address the San Antonio City Council Tuesday as members prepared to vote on a proposal supporting access to abortions.
The resolution, which was kickstarted by District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo, doesn’t legalize abortion or decriminalize the procedure. It recommends not spending city money to keep record of reports of abortion, miscarriage or other reproductive healthcare acts that may be used to pursue a criminal investigation.
At times, speakers at the special meeting drew emotional response from those in attendance. At one point, Mayor Nirenberg stopped the proceedings in an effort to restore order.
After nearly 4 hours, council members voted 9-2 to approve the resolution.
District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry and District 8 Councilman Manny Palaez voted against it.
Both councilmen siding with City Attorney Andy Segovia who said the resolution has little if any legal force.
The move is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
It is similar to actions taken by other cities in Texas and elsewhere.
WHEREAS, the City of San Antonio is a City that supports fundamental human and civil
rights and has recently passed resolutions calling for action to support women’s rights and
identifying racism as a public health crisis; and
WHEREAS, the City of San Antonio honors the rights of people seeking an abortion to
bodily autonomy, access to health care services, and control over their private medical decisions;
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned the 1973 landmark
ruling, Roe v. Wade, which previously prevented individual states from directly banning abortion;
WHEREAS, access to safe and legal abortion affects health, safety, economic stability and
quality of life; and
WHEREAS, on June 16, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law HB 1280,
that criminalizes abortion at the felony level with a sentence of up to 99 years in prison and no
exception for rape or incest, which takes effect statewide 30 days after the Supreme Court decision
overturning Roe v. Wade (referred to commonly as a “trigger” law); and
WHEREAS, the Texas Attorney General acknowledged that the Texas trigger law does
not go into effect until 30 days after a Supreme Court judgement but has suggested that criminal
prosecutions can start now under a Texas abortion law passed in 1925; and
WHEREAS, the three State laws that ostensibly apply to abortion have yet to be reconciled
or clarified so that an individual can fully understand what behavior would violate the respective
WHEREAS, the Council recognizes the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s plan
to exercise his discretion in deciding whether to prosecute under the existing State law that
criminalizes abortion; and
WHEREAS, anti-choice legislators have weaponized the language of criminal law to
stigmatize reproductive choice, and the Council considers the phrase “abortion, miscarriage, or
other reproductive healthcare act” to accurately encompass all criminalized acts under Texas laws
which seek to criminalize pregnancy outcomes; and
WHEREAS, people have a basic human right to medical services and treatment, up to and
including abortion; and
WHEREAS, inequitable access to health care facilities and particularly eliminating legal
access to abortion has been empirically proven to dramatically increase the risk of death and bodily
injury especially within low-income women and communities of color; and
WHEREAS, the nearest care someone in Bexar County could travel for an abortion would
be effectively inaccessible to someone who is low-income and/or has no reliable means of
WHEREAS, the resources of the City must always be dedicated to the health and
wellbeing of all its residents; and
WHEREAS, in the 1973 Roe v. Wade majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Harry
Blackmun stated, “[The] right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s
concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District
Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough
to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy”; and
WHEREAS, the right to privacy should protect doctors, patients, and all others providing
abortion-related medical care from undue burdens on the healthcare provider-patient relationship
so long as those decisions occur without coercion, force, or negligence; and
WHEREAS, equitable access to abortion care requires financial and logistical support,
most often provided by abortion funds, practical support organizations, and volunteers; and
WHEREAS, the City has a responsibility to protect its residents from any violation of their
protected human rights and the free exercise thereof.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY
OF SAN ANTONIO:
SECTION 1. The City of San Antonio formally condemns any action intended to abrogate the
fundamental liberties of its people and affirms its commitment to protecting the right of its
residents to make reproductive health decisions, including abortion care, for themselves.
SECTION 2. The City of San Antonio intends to prioritize the protection of reproductive rights
in the City’s legislative agenda for the upcoming State of Texas legislative session.
SECTION 3. It is the policy recommendation of the City Council that, except to the extent
otherwise clearly required by state or federal law, City funds will not be used to: store or catalog
any report of an abortion, miscarriage, or other reproductive healthcare act strictly for the purpose
of pursuing a criminal investigation; provide information to any other governmental body or
agency about any abortion, miscarriage, or other reproductive healthcare act strictly for the purpose
of pursing a criminal investigation; or conduct surveillance or collect information related to an
individual or organization strictly for the purpose of determining whether an abortion has occurred
to then pursue a criminal investigation, except for aggregated data without personally identifying
information or personal health information which is collected for purposes unrelated to criminal
investigation, enforcement, or prosecution.
SECTION 4. The City Council policy stated above does not apply in cases where coercion or
force is used against the pregnant person, or in cases involving conduct criminally negligent to the
health of the pregnant person seeking care.
SECTION 5. The City Council recognizes the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s plan to
exercise his discretion in deciding whether to prosecute under the existing State law that
SECTION 6. The City Manager will update the City Council in the event of future changes to
federal law, state law, or technology that affect this Resolution.
SECTION 7. This Resolution is effective immediately upon the receipt of eight affirmative votes;
otherwise, it is effective ten days after passage.