Texas capital sends money to abortion groups, gets sued for breaking law
AUSTIN, Texas, August 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Today, attorneys from the Thomas More Society sued the City of Austin, Texas, for giving taxpayer money to organizations that help women obtain abortions in violation of state law.
The lawsuit alleges that the city’s expenditures are prohibited by the state’s abortion laws, which impose criminal liability on anyone who “furnishes the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended.” The lawsuit also alleges that the city’s expenditures violate the state constitution’s gift clause, which prohibits transfers of public funds to private entities unless the payment serves a legitimate public purpose and affords a clear public benefit received in return. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Texas Values, an Austin-based nonprofit, as well as several individual taxpayers.
Austin recently passed a budget that gives $250,000 in taxpayer money to organizations that provide travel, lodging, and other logistical support to pregnant women seeking to abort their unborn children. But the Texas Constitution prohibits cities from enacting ordinances that are “inconsistent” with the “general laws enacted by the Legislature of this State.” The “general laws enacted by the Legislature of this State” include the state’s pre–Roe v. Wade abortion statutes, which have never been repealed, and which continue to outlaw all abortions (and all conduct that aids or abets abortion) unless the mother’s life is in danger.
“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,” remarked Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal. “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right to taxpayer funding of abortion, and the city must obey and respect the state’s abortion statutes until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them.”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 seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting the City of Austin from using taxpayer money to assist abortion, as well as costs and attorneys’ fees.