My name is Amy O’Donnell; I’m a former resident of San Antonio and the Communications Director for Texas Alliance for Life. I’m here today speaking against using the Reproductive Justice Fund allocations toward travel for elective abortions. We believe that 100% of the funds should go for services for women that do not fund referrals or travel for elective abortions. 

We are thankful to live in a state that prioritizes care for women and families. We see this in the Texas Legislature’s generously funded Alternatives to Abortion program, Medicaid, and the Healthy Texas Women Program.

In 2023, Texas’ highly successful Alternatives to Abortion program (now called Thriving Texas Families) received a $165 million appropriation, a 65% increase. This program provides services to women with unplanned pregnancies so they can successfully carry their unborn baby to term, give birth, and keep the baby or place the baby for adoption. Services continue for three years after the birth of the child. By our count, dozens of life-affirming pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies. 

For uninsured pregnant women with incomes up to twice the federal poverty level, the Legislature has allocated a substantial $2.35 billion for the state’s Medicaid program. This funding ensures comprehensive medical coverage for prenatal, childbirth, and follow-up care for mothers and babies for 12 months. 

The Healthy Texas Women Program and other women’s health programs have received $446 million for various free services for low-income women. These services include breast and cervical cancer screenings, family planning, pregnancy testing, pelvic examinations, sexually transmitted infection services, mammograms, and screening and treatment for cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Within 20 miles of where we stand, the state’s website lists 59 providers. 

Yet we recognize that even with all of these statewide allocations toward providing healthcare and support needs for low-income women and families, as well as those facing unplanned pregnancies, more can be done. 

We applaud the San Antonio City Council for seeking to meet the needs of women and families in the city who may not qualify for Medicaid or Healthy Texas Women, which, while vastly funded, are limited in reach to those who qualify.

We at Texas Alliance for Life are pro-woman and pro-life. Abortion is anti-woman, and it is anti-life as it seeks to take an innocent unborn baby’s life 100% of the time, at the expense of women’s mental and sometimes physical health. For these reasons, we firmly assert abortion is not healthcare, especially not in a state like New Mexico, where abortions are legal up to birth and are completely unregulated by the state. They don’t even have safety inspections.

“Abortion is anti-woman, and it is anti-life as it seeks to take an innocent unborn baby’s life 100% of the time, at the expense of women’s mental and sometimes physical health.”

Amy O’Donnell, Texas Alliance for Life communications director

We also want to point out that there is no reason a woman would have to travel out of state for a medically necessary abortion. When a pregnancy endangers a mother’s life or poses a risk of loss of a major bodily function, medically necessary abortions remain legal in Texas. In the first 17 months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, doctors have performed 75 medically necessary abortions, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Women facing unplanned pregnancies need support. They need to know they will not have to walk through the pregnancy alone and that there are pregnancy centers that will walk hand-in-hand with them, pointing them toward resources. They need to know other organizations seek to provide for their tangible needs.

Again, we applaud the city of San Antonio for trying to meet these needs by bridging the healthcare gap for as many as possible. Still, we strongly oppose using any of that funding to promote the taking of innocent lives. It is far better allocated toward meeting the tangible needs of women and families while promoting life and the value of even the tiniest future San Antonio residents. 

The message was shared by the Texas Alliance for Life Communications Director Amy O’Donnell at a press conference with city leaders and elected officials in front of the San Antonio City Council on April 10, 2024.

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