Waco City Council Member asking for consideration of GRACE Act, de-prioritizing abortion investigations
WACO, Texas (KWTX) -After the state passed legislation that would restrict the right to abortions, some cities are pushing back.
Council member Kelly Palmer made a suggestion during Tuesday night’s meeting that Waco city leaders consider what is knowns as the “GRACE Act” which stands for “Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone”.
“The more that I talk to folks in the community and the more I’ve heard the sense of helplessness, I realized as an elected official I have a platform to use so I wanted to both acknowledge the fear is real and that people are really concerned and showed that I believe there is a role for local government to play,” Palmer said.
The GRACE Act does not legalize abortions but rather recommends limiting city funds for collecting and maintaining information concerning reproductive healthcare actions and de-prioritizes the enforcement of criminal law pertaining to these actions.
“District attorneys have a great deal of discretion in which cases they do and don’t bring and this simply directs them to use their discretion in a particular way,” Jeffrey Dixon, an associate professor of political science at Texas A&M Central Texas, said.
Dixon says while the city can’t prevent a state prosecution, the loophole is putting other cases first.
“We live in a state with one of the lowest insurance rates and in a state that does have explanded Medicare so this is not only a huge challenge to Texas in general but because of the unique makeup of Waco, this is such a threat to our wellbeing and will negatively impact our schools and our already incredibly overwhelmed cps system,” Palmer said.
This comes as Austin’s city council called a special meeting Thursday to take action and other texas cities are having similar conversations.
Palmer says she feels this is an essential conversation in Waco to put a focus elsewhere.
“There’s been conversation about crime we are seeing, particularly violent crime and gang activity and we want to make sure Waco PD and city staff are focusing their limited resources whether that’s personnel or funds towards addressing real needs in our community as opposed to investigating, tracking, and arresting residence who are making intimate, private decisions about their healthcare,” Palmer said.
Palmer says now that she has requested a resolution, it is now in the hands of the city staff to decide the timeline of when discussions of the GRACE Act will be added to a future agenda.
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