The city council of Austin, Texas, has now formalized its opposition to the recently enacted ban on nearly all abortions after some six weeks of pregnancy in the state. The ban includes provisions by which private citizens can sue those suspected of involvement in the procurement of an illegal abortion, and the law was recently allowed to stand — for now — by the U.S. Supreme Court, meaning that abortion rights in Texas are currently severely impeded. As explained by Forbes, the Austin city council passed a resolution that opposes “the state’s controversial near-total ban on abortion and… approves using city resources to fight it in court.”
The Austin resolution insists that the Texas abortion law “stands in direct defiance” to Constitutionally established rights to privacy, and the Austin measure also notes that the law “clearly goes against the sentiments of the general public.” The approval of using Austin city resources to challenge the controversial law is set to mean that the city ends up formally supporting legal challenges against the law that are already in motion rather than filing its own case. Just this week, the Justice Department took a similar step in a case against Abbott’s ban on mask mandates in schools, filing a formal statement in opposition to that ban as part of a federal court case in Texas. The Justice Department has also filed its own lawsuit challenging the abortion law.
In Austin, Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison commented as follows this week, discussing the issue:
‘This is unjust. It is inequitable and frankly it is cruel. That is why we have to be here… We have to be here to speak up for them and let them know they are not alone and that all together we are going to do what it takes to protect their rights.’
The time that the Texas law has been in effect has already imposed struggles on pregnant people in Texas. As Forbes summarized, “clinics in neighboring states are reportedly filling up with Texans who have traveled hundreds of miles to seek the procedure.” In connection to the Justice Department lawsuit challenging the draconian law, Attorney General Merrick Garland has insisted that the law “is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent,” adding that federal officials possess “the authority and responsibility to ensure that no state can deprive individuals of their constitutional rights through a legislative scheme specifically designed to prevent the vindication of those rights.”