Legal Battle Erupts as Anti-Abortion Groups Challenge San Antonio’s Women’s Health Fund

by Ella

San Antonio, Texas – The San Antonio Family Association, alongside Texas Right to Life and other plaintiffs, has initiated a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio. The legal action is in response to a women’s health fund, totaling $500,000, which was added to the city’s 2024 budget by members of the City Council.


This $3.7 billion budget, approved in the previous month, included the controversial last-minute addition of a $500,000 fund designed to support reproductive health access. However, it remained uncertain whether these funds could be allocated to organizations aiding individuals in traveling out of state to access abortion services.


Advocates for abortion rights were vocal proponents of this fund, which is set to be managed by the city’s health department.


The lawsuit, naming Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Manager Erik Walsh as defendants, argues that the fund’s intended purpose is illegal, as it would contravene Texas’ abortion law. This law restricts individuals or groups from assisting people in obtaining an abortion.


The legal action aims to preemptively prevent the city from disbursing funds to any organization that assists with abortion, even if such organizations provide other services.

The lawsuit asserts, “Any grant of taxpayer money to criminal organizations that violate the state’s abortion laws … must be enjoined, regardless of how the recipient organization intends to use the money.”

City Attorney Andy Segovia responded, stating, “It is unfortunate that taxpayer funds will be spent on defending against this lawsuit based on misinformation and false allegations.” He clarified that a decision has not been made regarding how the funds will be used and that the City Council will discuss their allocation in an open work session, ensuring compliance with state and federal laws.

The reproductive health fund received approval from all council members, except Councilman Marc Whyte (D10), who abstained from the budget vote due to the fund’s inclusion.

At the time of the budget vote, Segovia assured council members that creating a women’s health fund was not in violation of any laws. However, he emphasized the need to delve deeper into the issue when determining which groups would receive the funds.

Councilwoman Teri Castillo (D5), who introduced the fund, clarified during budget discussions that the money’s purpose was “for the purpose of directly funding and supporting community-based organizations that provide comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care services, resources, and education.”

Additional plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Bexar County Republican Party, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Unite San Antonio, and individual residents.

This isn’t the first time the San Antonio Family Association (SAFA) has taken legal action against the city. In 2019, they sued the city over the removal of Chick-fil-A from the airport concessionaire contract, alleging that this action was taken due to the fast-food company’s charitable support of Christian organizations. The case reached the Texas Supreme Court, which ultimately decided that SAFA’s claims lacked sufficient evidence.


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