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The Student News Site of Trinity University

Trinitonian

SA’s reproductive justice fund is under attack

Conservative interest groups reveal their audacity in lawsuit against fund
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In this week’s edition of news that strengthens the popular hypothesis that the state of Texas may actually just be Hell, a recent attempt by the city of San Antonio to allocate funds to reproductive justice is being met with a setback.

In September, the City Council earmarked $500,000 in its budget for a brand new “Reproductive Justice Fund.” While two members of the Council have vocally advocated using the fund to help finance out-of-state abortions, conversations within City Council about its application have been focused primarily on supporting nonprofits that aim to improve access to contraception, sex education and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Unfortunately, any mention of words “reproductive justice” are sufficient to spawn conservative interest groups ready to fight against it tooth and nail. A number of organizations, the most vocal being Texas Right to Life and the San Antonio Family Association (SAFA), sued the city of San Antonio a little over a month after the budget was passed.

The allegations revolve around the notion that nonprofit reproductive organizations are inherently criminal, even if the money they receive is explicitly marked for non-abortion purposes. Due to the fact that these nonprofits fund out-of-state abortions, the plaintiffs argue that “Any such grant aids and abets their criminal activities by freeing up money and resources for their ‘procurement’ of drug-induced abortions.”

This lawsuit is, legally speaking, nonsense. It is not currently illegal to travel across state lines to obtain an abortion, although many red states are trying to change this. Similarly, despite the state government’s ongoing efforts, it is not yet illegal to fund out-of-state abortions as a nonprofit, nor is it illegal for local governments to fund nonprofits.

With that said, I don’t want to get too tied up in the specific legal issues here. Having already covered a similar issue with the Texas GOP’s drag ban and having paid attention to United States politics for a very long time, conservatives interpreting laws in bad faith or outright ignoring them to advance their agenda is old news.

Instead, I want to focus on what emboldened these interest groups to do this. Groups like Right to Life have deep pockets, as they are often backed by incredibly powerful business leaders, and played an instrumental role in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Conservative interest groups’ strategy of using lawsuits to gum up the courts and garner attention is not new either, as Oregon’s Right to Life branch did the same thing just last month in an attempt to stop insurers in Oregon from covering abortions and contraceptives.

These groups are certainly emboldened by their financial backing, but another major factor at play is the completely inflammatory nature of Republican rhetoric. Republican politicians, ever since the reign of depravity otherwise known as the presidency of Ronald Reagan, have had no qualms with completely misrepresenting the position of abortion rights advocates and the practice of abortion itself.

Christian nationalism has played a huge role, as religious objections to abortion on the part of fundamentalist Christians have been blown up to the point that they override all principles of separation of church and state. The outrageous nature of Republican rhetoric and how it broadly emboldens conservatives has deep roots in Christian nationalism which cannot be ignored.

With these things in mind, it is easier to explain why interest groups would be so bold as to launch a complete joke of a lawsuit against the city of San Antonio. Right to Life, SAFA and the other groups know their frivolous lawsuits are viewed as a fact of life in U.S. courts and that they will face little scrutiny and no repercussions.

Republicans’ success, both as it pertains to anti-abortion legislation and in every other area, can be attributed to their ability to effectively stoke fear and anger about already marginalized people. With that in mind, those same emotions aimed back at them should not be viewed as going too low. On the contrary, whether it be in a public capacity or in your personal life, laying out the reality of conservatives’ political tactics relentlessly and harshly is the only appropriate response.

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About the Contributor
Colin Houston
Colin Houston, Opinion Columnist, Copy Editor
I’m Colin Houston (they/them), and I’m a junior political science major and an opinion columnist/copy editor for the Trinitonian. I’m also one of the captains of Swashbucklers and the Divest Trinity subcommittee representative for Eco Allies, and I'm a member of San Antonio Democratic Socialists of America. My current hobbies are making music, playing Tetris and Retro Bowl, confusing people, confusing people, running, and using Oxford commas when I'm not supposed to. Please enjoy one of my many opinions below.

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    Amy KleinNov 3, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Well said, Colin!

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