San Antonio mayoral candidates say reproductive fund shouldn't pay for abortion travel

City Council will vote this fall on the rules governing use of the city's Reproductive Justice Fund.

click to enlarge Six San Antonio council members, including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, voiced support for the city's Reproductive Justice Fund on Wednesday. - Shutterstock
Six San Antonio council members, including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, voiced support for the city's Reproductive Justice Fund on Wednesday.
Both of San Antonio's mayoral candidates voiced opposition Wednesday to San Antonio's Reproductive Justice Fund being used to help residents obtain abortions out of state.

District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez and District 9 Councilman John Courage — the only two members of council to officially declare runs for the city's top elected office — said they back the fund but not if it spends taxpayer money on travel to skirt Texas' ban on nearly all abortions.

That put the pair in the same corner as District 10's Marc Whyte, council's most conservative member, during a B Session debate on how use the $500,000 fund.

Council voted last fall to create the fund as part of the city's $3.7 billion budget, saying it's needed to bolster nonprofits offering reproductive care. Some proponents also said the money should cover transportation costs for SA residents seeking abortions in states where the procedure is still legal.

During Wednesday's deliberations, six council members, including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, expressed support for covering abortion-related travel expenses. District 2's Jalen McKee-Rodriguez even called out pro-life protesters at the meeting who carried signs that said "Equity begins and ends in the womb."

"I hope your hands get tired," McKee-Rodriguez said from the dais. "It's funny, and I have to say hilarious, that lives don't seem to matter after they're born, especially when they're immigrants, when they're LGBTQ+, when they're Black or brown or poor. God forbid somebody be on food stamps."

During a post-meeting press conference joined by anti-abortion activists, Whyte said he'll continue to fight the Reproductive Justice Fund being used for abortion-related expenses.

Council is expected to vote this fall on final guidelines for use of the funds.

"Today really was about what is and what is not a proper use of city money," Whyte said. "And to tell the citizens of San Antonio that we're going to use their dollars to send folks out of this state to receive abortions is simply wrong."

Subscribe to SA Current newsletters.

Follow us: Apple News | Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter| Or sign up for our RSS Feed


Since 1986, the SA Current has served as the free, independent voice of San Antonio, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an SA Current Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today to keep San Antonio Current.

Scroll to read more San Antonio News articles

Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.