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Texas pro-lifers sue city of Austin for giving taxpayer funding to abortion groups

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Pro-life advocates in the city of Austin, Texas, have filed a lawsuit after the City Council voted to use $250,000 in taxpayer funding to pay for abortion-assistance programs. Currently, it is against the law in Texas to use taxpayer funds for abortion. As a way to circumvent this, the Austin City Council voted last week to use the money for programs that assist women who wish to commit an abortion without actually paying for the procedure itself. Some of the money will be sent to an organization called Jane’s Due Process, which shows underage girls how to obtain abortions without parental consent.

This is the third lawsuit that pro-lifers have filed against the city, which has a history of supporting abortion.

According to Texas Right to Life, in 2019, the city allocated $150,000 to fund programs that provide transportation, lodging, and childcare for women seeking abortions. As a result, pro-lifer Don Zimmerman sued the city, followed by Texas Right to Life with a second lawsuit. The current lawsuit is a collaborative effort brought by David Walls, Alan Higginbotham, Jerri Lynn Ward, and the organization Texas Values.

READ: Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates refuse to return COVID-19 relief funds

Texas law prohibits cities from enacting ordinances that are “inconsistent” with the general laws of the state. In their suit, the trio claim that the City of Austin is in violation of this ordinance when it gives money to abortion-assistance programs. They claim that using taxpayer funding for this purpose also violates the gift clause of the Texas Constitution, which prohibits the transfer of public funds to private entities when the payment neither serves a legitimate public purpose nor offers a clear public benefit in return.

“Local governments that use taxpayer dollars to aid and abet abortions are committing a criminal act, and they can’t hide behind Roe v. Wade because there’s no constitutional right to taxpayer funding of abortion,“ said Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal, who is representing the plaintiffs, spoke of the lawsuit in a press release. “The City of Austin is violating the law of Texas by using taxpayer money to aid and abet abortions, and the law of Texas continues to define this conduct as a criminal act,” he said. “The city cannot hide behind Roe v. Wade because there is no constitutional right to taxpayer funding of abortion, and the city must obey and respect the state’s abortion statutes until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them.”

The lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction of the funds as well as the reimbursement of attorney fees.

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