San Antonio voters defeat proposition that would have decriminalized abortion

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Voters in San Antonio soundly rejected a proposition Saturday that, among other things, would have decriminalized abortion in the city.

Proposition A, also known as the San Antonio Justice Charter, was an omnibus measure encompassing a number of issues. In addition to decriminalizing abortion, it would have also decriminalized low-level marijuana possession, created a “justice dictator” position at City Hall, banned no-knock warrants and chokeholds by law enforcement, and required police to issue citations rather than arrests for certain low-level, nonviolent offenses. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated by a 3-1 margin, with 72% of voters opposed and only 28% in favor.

Opponents of the measure argued early on against its wide reach. Texas Alliance for Life, a pro-life group, petitioned the Texas Supreme Court in February to block the proposal on the basis that its six distinct and unrelated amendments violated state law. The Court refused to intervene, however, citing its resolve not to interfere in local elections.

Texas law currently protects nearly all preborn children from abortion. Though city officials acknowledged that they would be unable to go against state law should the proposal have passed, they hoped to deprioritize enforcement of abortion laws and send a symbolic message to the state.

“If [the proposition] stands, we’ve now found a rubric and a way for other cities that are figuring how to try and protect” their rights, Ananda Tomas, executive director of Act 4 SA, told the Texas Tribune prior to the vote. “We’ve now laid that roadmap for how to do this.”

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Texas Alliance for Life praised the measure’s defeat in a news release.

“We are tremendously pleased to see that San Antonio voters have defeated Prop A so decisively. Prop A would have been tragic for unborn children and victims of trafficking who would have been left without the protection from abortion they deserve by San Antonio police,” said Texas Alliance for Life Communications Director Amy O’Donnell. “Prop A was bad news for San Antonio churches, pro-life pregnancy centers, and businesses that would become easy targets for theft and vandalism. Prop A would have put the family culture that makes the city so vibrantly alive and beautiful at risk.”

“We hope this defeat sends a strong message to those activists seeking to circumvent statewide laws that protect unborn babies from abortion. Gimmicks, like the bundling of the decriminalization of abortion with other measures, did not work in San Antonio. Texans won’t stand for it, and our cities deserve better.”

“Today, the will of San Antonio voters prevailed. And the will of voters across the state — who spoke through their state elected officials when Texas enacted protective laws like the Human Life Protection Act — has been affirmed.”

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