Decriminalizing abortion could be on the May 2023 ballot in the city of San Antonio, Texas, according to ACT4SA, a pro-abortion organization which claims to have gathered the signatures necessary for the petition initiative.
The move, which was called “smoke and mirrors” by Danny Diaz, president of the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association, follows similar ballot initiatives across the state and nation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Diaz explained to the San Antonio Express-News that the decriminalization of marijuana and abortion are handled at the state and federal level of government. “The decriminalization of marijana [sic] and abortion are handled at the state and federal level of government. This action is added to this initiative to distract voters and add a layer of smoke and mirrors,” a release published to the organization’s website states.
Despite this, the San Antonio Current reports that ACT4SA along with the “voter-mobilization outfit Ground Game Texas and roughly a dozen other progressive organizations” have obtained 35,000 signatures and plan to give the initiative to the city clerk for verification on Tuesday, January 10.
The petition effort seeks to “decriminalize marijuana possession under 4 ounces, decriminalize abortion by making it a rule that SAPD shall not arrest or surveil abortion providers or seekers, ban no-knock warrants and codify a cite-and-release policy,” KENS5.com reported.
The San Antonio @JusticeCharter aims to decriminalize abortions and marijuana as well as banning police chokeholds and no-knock warrants. I spent time with petitioners who pushed to collect 20,000 verified signatures to get this charter amendment on the May ballot. pic.twitter.com/FlD6U7QsmH
— Jose Arredondo (@sportsguyjose) January 9, 2023
The group’s petition reads:
A petition to amend the City Charter of San Antonio to adopt a justice policy that will reduce unnecessary arrests and save scarce public resources through a comprehensive set of reforms, including: ending enforcement of low-level marijuana possession; ending enforcement of abortion crimes; banning no-knock warrants; banning chokeholds; and using citations instead of arrests for low-level nonviolent crimes. Full text of proposed charter amendment attached. After signing, you may receive an updated voter registration form if your registration is not current.
Section 177 of the group’s charter reads (emphasis added):
Elimination of abortion enforcement.
- It is the policy of the City of San Antonio to promote the reproductive health, safety, and privacy of all City residents;
- The City hereby finds and declares that a variety of factors negatively impact its ability to legally and appropriately enforce state laws that criminalize abortion, including:
- The City’s goal of promoting reproductive health, safety, and privacy of all City residents;
- The legal and practical complexity of evaluating claims that City residents may have violated state laws concerning the criminalization of abortion;
- The lack of training and capacity of City police to discern valid and enforceable complaints of unlawful abortion;
- The risk of liability arising from improper enforcement of criminal abortion laws;
- In light of the policy and findings identified above, City of San Antonio police officers shall not investigate, make arrests, or otherwise enforce any alleged criminal abortion, except in the circumstances identified in Section 177(d);
- The only circumstances in which City of San Antonio police officers are permitted to investigate, make arrests, or otherwise enforce any state law that criminalizes abortion are when (i) coercion or force is used against a pregnant person or (ii) in cases involving conduct criminally negligent to the health of the pregnant person seeking care;
- Except to the extent required by state or federal law, the City of San Antonio will not gather information concerning abortion-related crimes.
Specifically, no city staff, city funds, or city resources will be used to:
- Store or catalog any report of an abortion, miscarriage, or other reproductive healthcare act or outcome;
- Provide information to any other governmental body or agency about any abortion, miscarriage, or other reproductive healthcare act, unless such information is provided to defend the patient’s right to abortion care or the healthcare provider’s right to provide that care;
- Conduct surveillance or collect information related to an individual or organization for the purpose of determining whether an abortion has occurred, except for aggregated data without personally identifying information or personal health information which is collected for purposes unrelated to criminal investigation, enforcement, or prosecution.
Who is the group behind this effort?
ACT4SA, which was founded by Ananda Tomas and claims to be “the only organization in San Antonio focused solely on policing,” cleverly folded abortion into a petition which seeks to decriminalize marijuana and end the use of police choke holds in the City. The group needed 20,000 signatures for the decriminalization of abortion effort, and according to San Antonio Express-News, they “have until Jan. 10 to gather enough signatures to place the “Justice Charter” on the May 6 ballot,” the media outlet claimed.
ACT4SA’s website claims the group is seeking “accountability,” “transparency” and “compassion.” Induced abortion ends the life of a human being in the womb:
In August of 2022, the San Antonio City Council approved a resolution, which, according to KSAT, “does not legalize or decriminalize abortion in San Antonio. However, it does make a policy recommendation against spending city money — outside of what is ‘clearly required’ by state and federal law — to catalog, collect or share with other government agencies information on instances of abortion strictly to pursue criminal investigations.”
But pro-abortion activists did not believe the move went far enough.
“They passed a resolution that was watered down, doesn’t really hold a lot of teeth,” ACT4SA’s Tomas told KENS5. “The idea is let’s take this to the people to make a decision to enact actual policy.”