REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS & SEXUAL HEALTH

It’s come to this. Abortion is illegal in Texas. Those who seek an abortion will be forced to leave the state to do so. Despite the loss of bodily autonomy, I’m here today to say that while our state and federal leaders argue over what I can and cannot do with my body, as Mayor, the City is not without power or resolve. We know these rights were hard won, and we'll stand together until our freedoms are restored.

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Support Austinites in need of an abortion

1. Fully support the GRACE Act.
 

  • The GRACE Act was proposed by City Council Members Chito Vela and Vanessa Fuentes to restrict city funds from being used to investigate alleged abortions made criminal after the repeal of Roe v. Wade by the efforts of Governor Abbott and extremist legislators. I will fully support this act, which instructs the city’s police department to treat abortion as the “lowest priority” for criminal enforcement, arrest, and investigation.
     

2. Aid Austinites who are forced to seek abortion care outside of Texas.
 

  • Obtain legal clarity to fund abortion funds and logistical support services for abortion care (lodging, travel, lost wages, child care, etc.) and explore ways to partner with abortion-supportive cities in nearby states to provide relief.
     

  • Ensure that all Austinites can travel out of state without harassment or criminalization.
     

  • Work with airlines to increase the number of low-cost, direct flights to locations with abortion clinics.
     

  • Advocate to ban the interception of travelers from ABIA either leaving Austin to seek abortion care or returning to Austin after seeking abortion care.
     

  • Work with federal leaders to protect Austinites’ and Texans’ rights to safely travel and ensure passengers are not harassed by any form of protest at the airport.

3. Provide information on the healthcare options available outside of Texas and the logistical support services for abortion provided by the City of Austin.

Protect patient privacy

1. Protect the security of the City of Austin’s public access wifi to ensure data privacy.
 

  • Austinites and Texans should feel safe to search the internet at our city’s libraries, health clinics, and other city-owned buildings. I support data privacy protection and infrastructure investments to ensure that no bad actors purchase or access this data. No city-owned data will be sold or released that could threaten the privacy of those seeking abortion care outside the state.

 

2. Partner with CapMetro, ABIA, and others public entities to ensure data protection on their public wifi.

  • Invite major employers to come to the table to further support and protect Central Texans seeking abortion care outside of Texas.

 

  • Coordinate with Travis County, and jurisdictions in the greater MSA wherever possible, to make the best use of collective resources in order to support travel needs of those seeking abortion care.

Increase access to affordable contraception

1. Partner with and amplify community partners that provide emergency contraception options.
 

  • Seek grant funding through national organizations to do a bulk purchase of emergency contraception with a focus on distribution to healthcare deserts in Central Texas.
    ○ Increase funding to specifically provide emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraception.

     

  • Advocate to provide small grants funding for eligible low income residents for long-acting reversible contraception.
     

  • Support emergency contraception kit drives.
     

2. Expand publicly funded condom distribution through Austin Public Health.

3. Increase partnerships with local providers to provide one-time grants that support training and education on trauma-informed, culturally competent contraceptive care focused on transgender, intersex and gender expansive populations.

Support access to high-quality, culturally responsive sexual health and wellness services

1. Fund testing. The City of Austin drastically underfunds for STI and STD testing.

2. Create opportunities for public-private partnerships and utilization of city-owned land in healthcare deserts to create community clinics and ensure equitable access to quality, affordable reproductive healthcare.

3. Change the way the city allocates funding to support our non-profit partners. The city could better support nonprofits by granting money upfront instead of working on a reimbursement model that requires the nonprofit to float the money to continue services.

4. Address health disparities and support the creation of a pipeline of culturally competent providers for sexual health and wellness services outside of the city funded clinics.

5. Continue to support the National Ending the HIV Epidemic strategies to reduce HIV transmission among queer and transgender people of color. I would prioritize preventative measures while continuing to support resources to diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible and to treat people with HIV rapidly and effectively. I would include additional funding focused on providing quality healthcare resources to those most likely to contract HIV, including PrEP coverage for the uninsured.

6. Embrace harm reduction frameworks, including the continuation of syringe services programs to end the transmission of HIV.

7. Ensure access to PrEP and PEP.

 

  • Recent court ruling that private companies can opt-out of covering PrEP comes from the same lawyer who wrote SB8 in Texas, and it uses the same religious exemption argument at the Hobby Lobby case to restrict contraceptive care.

  • Make PrEP access available—set up a fund, have companies that want to support it provide private donations and provide access to treatments.

  • Partner with private employers in Austin who would speak up against not covering PrEP.


8. Combat potential disease outbreaks in vulnerable communities by investing in community health organizers with a focus on youth, communities of color and the LGBTQIA+ community. As Mayor, I will lean on the recently-created city and county Joint Public Health Commission to review lessons learned from COVID-19 and Monkeypox pandemic for best practices in future city response.

Fund medically accurate, inclusive sex education

1. Through the work of Austin Public Health and in partnership with other local public health entities, provide medically-accurate and LGBTQIA+ inclusive sexual and reproductive health information.

2. Recommit to fight against abstinence-only education and ensure that city funding never goes to abstinence-only education.

3. Combat misinformation by opening an information hub to coordinate Austin-based resources.

 

  • As Mayor, I would direct city staff to create a website where people can find verified abortion support services. This would include about what a crisis pregnancy center is, what they look like, and how to identify them so that Austinites do not fall victim to misinformation. The site would also include links to other resources and partnerships with other cities in conjunction with Travis County.
     

  • Provide constituents with information about the status laws regarding reproductive rights at the City, State, and Federal levels.
     

4. Support an annual Reproductive Health Week.

 

  • ​Provide constituents with information about the status laws regarding reproductive rights at the City, State, and Federal levels.
     

  • Community health fair where people can come and get info on different types of birth control, on sexual wellbeing & health, etc.


5. Anti-stigma work around STDs, STIs, and HIV/AIDs specifically.
 

  • Education about where people can find testing and treatment, and ensure that our health partners are committed to anti-stigma work and U=U education.