Harris County's SB 8 mitigation study at center of heated commissioners' court

Pooja Lodhia Image
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Harris Co.'s SB 8 study at center of heated commissioners' court
A daylong presentation of a Harris County study on what County Judge Lina Hidalgo says looks into navigating the "negative effects" of the Texas abortion ban turned heated while in session. So, what were the findings?

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Could federal COVID aid be used to help people in Harris County get abortion services?

A study commissioned by County Judge Lina Hidalgo has a lot of people thinking it could happen, even though she's said it's not even being looking into at this point.

"It's not under consideration, but with campaign season, we can expect mischaracterizations to appear just like this one," the county judge said.

Hidalgo has been a strong opponent of Senate Bill 8, and when it passed the state legislature, she asked analysts to look into what can be done to support those wanting abortions.

LATEST ON SB8: Texas judge declares state's abortion law is unconstitutional

The newly released study shows the county can't legally use local or state tax dollars to fund abortions, but can use federal funds set aside for COVID relief.

According to the study by the Harris County Commissioners Court's Analyst's Office, the county can legally use local dollars for abortion-related costs, like transportation and lodging.

Proponents of the Texas law showed up at commissioners court, saying the study is the first step toward the county funding abortion related services and circumventing state law.

"Here we go again. Anybody that has the audacity to disagree with your position gets accused of politics when this is ribald politics itself," said Commissioner Jack Cagle.

"I hope y'all save some taxpayer dollars and not move forward," said Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park. "Also, I think there might be an open question on whether or not doing so would violate the aiding and abetting provision of the Texas Heartbeat Act."

"We stand on the side of public safety, on the side of health care," Hidalgo said. "It's simply a transmittal, and transmittals are obviously perfectly legal."

You can read the report below or through Harris County's website.

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