AUSTIN—Austin City Council voted 9-2 to amend its federal legislative agenda to promote Planned Parenthood among other issues of concern for the city. The overwhelming show of support came despite the admission to council by a Planned Parenthood representative that the organization’s Texas facilities are under eight different investigations by state and federal authorities.
Council passed the resolution Oct. 15 and four days later Gov. Gregg Abbott, in a move illustrating the ideological divide between pro-life and pro-choice Texans, called for the end of Medicaid funding to Texas Planned Parenthood clinics.
“Texas has stepped forward and shown its unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services,” Abbott said in a press release.
By contrast, Austin’s resolution “supports any legislation that would maintain or expand funding for Planned Parenthood and opposes any legislation that would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood or endanger access to affordable health care.”
Three pro-life advocates spoke against the measure, including Texas Right to Life legislative director John Seago. He said the resolution was not about women’s health care.
“Austin City Council is always looking to make ideological points to show how committed they are to elective abortion,” Seago told the TEXAN.
The last “statement” cost the city $480,000 in restitution for legal fees incurred by a pro-life pregnancy center in its fight against a 2011 city ordinance requiring all pro-life pregnancy centers post signs at their entrances stating what services, including abortion, are not provided by the facility.
In his address to council, Seago noted Austin has 66 “Federally Qualified Health Centers” that provide the same—and in some cases more—services as Planned Parenthood with the exception of abortions. Planned Parenthood has three clinics in Austin.
A visibly angry Councilwoman Leslie Pool called the recent undercover video investigations of Planned Parenthood’s alleged sale of fetal body parts “misogynistic and unethical and immoral.”
“I invite all of Austin to be entirely behind this [resolution] and embrace Planned Parenthood in a very big way,” Pool said.