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Abortion, GRACE Act dominate Waco City Council public comment

Posted at 9:11 AM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 11:04:14-04

WACO — If anyone needed proof that the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade has resonated locally, then they should've stopped by the Waco city council meeting Tuesday night.

Speaker after speaker weighed in on abortion and the possibility the council may eventually consider GRACE act legislation, which would effectively direct local police and the local district attorney to deprioritize abortion investigations and prosecutions.

“We’re here to express our views on keeping Waco a lawful city,” one woman told 25 News.

Another woman, who said she's pro-choice, had a far different take.

“These Texas trigger laws are just inhumane upon a woman’s rights and reproductive rights,” she said.

During a meeting last month, Councilwoman Kelly Palmer suggested discussion of the GRACE act be put on an upcoming agenda.

"I recognize this is breaking with precedent, however, as one of the only people of childbearing age with a uterus on this stage, and deeply heartbroken by the impact of the repealing of Roe v. Wade […] I would like to ask that be added to a future agenda." said Palmer.

Word quickly spread through town, with folks on both sides of the abortion debate turning out in force for the next meeting on Tuesday night.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe, Texas’ trigger law goes into effect at month's end. It’ll outlaw abortions statewide, except in cases where the health of the mother is at stake. The law is somewhat vague, so it isn't clear how doctors or hospitals will define that.

“Choice is imperative, but that choice but must not infringe on the life of another,” another woman said during public comment.

Another speaker sounded off on the state law, advocating for Waco to do something.

“When young girls, some as young as 10, are raped or victims of incest and become pregnant, they will be forced by the state of Texas to carry and deliver the child of their rapist,” he said.

It's unknown if the city will eventually consider a local ordinance.

A number of other Texas cities, like Austin and Denton, are already voting through GRACE ordinances.