The City Council of Austin denounced the Texas heartbeat law in a resolution Thursday, claiming the legal protections for unborn babies “stand in direct defiance” of the U.S. Constitution.
The Austin Monitor reports the resolution passed in a 10-1 vote with Councilwoman Mackenzie Kelly casting the only “no” vote.
The Texas heartbeat law went into effect Sept. 1, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Thus far, the courts have refused to temporarily block the law, and up to 3,000 unborn babies already have been spared from abortion.
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In the resolution, the Austin City Council denounced state lawmakers for “enacting a law that stands in direct defiance of the constitutionally protected right to privacy and so clearly goes against the sentiments of the general public.”
The council urged the city to support lawsuits from the abortion industry, the Biden administration and others challenging the pro-life law. It also asked private businesses to join city leaders in opposing the law.
“… the City Council believes in a person’s right to choose, but we also stand with our local delegation who have been fighting really hard against [the heartbeat law],” Councilwoman Paige Ellis said.
She also encouraged abortion activists to lobby their favorite businesses to oppose the pro-life law, according to the report.
Echoing talking points from the abortion industry, Austin Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison slammed the life-saving law as “cruel” at a press conference Wednesday, Forbes reports.
“This is unjust. It is inequitable and frankly it is cruel,” Harper-Madison said. “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.”
In response, Texas Right to Life urged the city leaders to stop their “abortion fanaticism” and instead “assist pregnant mothers and preborn children who need their support.”
The City of Austin has spent about $1 million in the past two years to support abortions, the Monitor reports. Though state and federal laws prohibit the city from directly paying for elective abortions, the city council has been skirting the law by providing money for transportation, hotel rooms, child care and other costs to help women get abortions instead.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are reaching out to pregnant women across Texas with compassion and understanding, offering resources and emotional support to help them and their babies. Earlier this year, state lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies.
About a dozen states have passed heartbeat laws to protect unborn babies from abortion, but Texas is the first to be allowed to enforce its law. Whether the law will remain in effect or ultimately be upheld as constitutional in court remains uncertain, but pro-life leaders are hopeful now that the U.S. Supreme Court has a conservative majority.
Polls show Americans support heartbeat laws. An April poll by the University of Texas-Austin found that 49 percent of Texans support making abortions illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, while 41 percent oppose it. In 2019, a national Hill-HarrisX survey also found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive.
ACTION ALERT: Contact the Austin City Council and tell members you oppose their vote.