San Antonio approves resolution recognizing abortion as health care

San Antonio has taken an official stance on abortion as health care and a right.

San Antonio has taken an official stance on abortion as health care and a right.

Carlos Javier Sanchez, Contributor

After three hours of public comments from pro- and anti-abortion groups, the San Antonio City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday, August 2, recognizing abortion services as health care and a right for people. The resolution passed 9-2 with council members Manny Pelaez and Clayton Perry voting against. 

The resolution mirrors the Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone (GRACE) Act,  supports the city not using funds or resources to investigate abortion cases, and recommends police give low priority to those cases. The resolution recognizes Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzalez’s discretion when it come prosecuting abortion cases.

It also prioritizes lobbying for legislation that protects reproductive rights at the state and federal level. The resolution goes on to recommend policy changes to prohibit use of city funds to criminally investigate abortions after state trigger laws go into effect. Austin passed a similar resolution on July 21 and amended an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on reproductive health actions.

San Antonio District 5 City Councilwoman Teri Castillo is credited with bringing the resolution to the city council. 

San Antonio District 5 City Councilwoman Teri Castillo is credited with bringing the resolution to the city council. 

Josie Norris / San Antonio Express-News

Perry voted against the resolution because of his personal beliefs and Pelaez voted no because he felt the resolution couldn’t legally hold the city or police to the expectations laid out in the resolution unlike an ordinance. 

Speakers included women who told their abortion stories, including Emma Hernandez, who found out she was pregnant after the passage of SB 8. She was turned down by the San Antonio clinic because she was past the six weeks mark, making the process illegal. Hernandez was told to seek abortion services in New Mexico. 

Anti-abortion activists called for “alternatives to abortion” like adoption while also equating abortion rights to the Holocaust. Others called the resolution the “work of the Devil.” At one point, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg recessed the city council meeting for five minutes as speakers started directing comments at each other. 

The resolution was proposed by District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo. 

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