More symbolic than anything, but it still has meaning.
Five San Antonio City Council members and the mayor stood in support of a largely symbolic measure Wednesday that would attempt to “decriminalize” abortion locally.
Council is expected to approve a resolution during a special meeting called for Tuesday that would essentially condemn Texas’ abortion ban and recommend that no local funds be used to investigate criminal charges related to the ban.
“Women and individuals who are seeking access to abortion need to know that their elected officials are standing by them and will not allow city resources to be used to collect any data to potentially criminalize or prosecute them,” Councilwoman Teri Castillo (D5), who drafted the resolution and held the press conference outside City Hall, told the San Antonio Report after the event.
The resolution cannot prevent local enforcement from investigating criminal cases of abortion, Castillo acknowledged, because the council cannot tell police departments how or whether to investigate criminal cases, according to the city’s charter.
“But it’s a step in the right direction and it’s a step to build upon and implement additional policy,” she said.
Castillo didn’t elaborate on what additional policies council might consider, but said she was looking forward to hearing ideas from the community and her colleagues.
Castillo and Mayor Ron Nirenberg were joined by council members Mario Bravo (D1), Phyllis Viagran (D3), Melissa Cabello-Havrda (D6) and John Courage (D9); together, the six represent a majority of council.
The resolution is similar to the GRACE Act that the Austin City Council approved this week. That, too, was a symbolic policy recommendation, as Austin’s charter has similar rules around the direction of law enforcement.
See here for some background on Austin’s actions, about which you know what I think. I’m curious at this point to see how many other Texas cities follow in these footsteps. If it’s still relevant next year, – if there hasn’t been a federal law passed to reinstate abortion rights, and if the Lege hasn’t passed some crazy law to shut this down, and if this cause hasn’t been taken up yet here – I’ll be asking every candidate for Mayor and City Council that I interview what they think about doing the same thing in Houston. Texas Public Radio and the Current have more.