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San Antonio City Council Changes Zoning Laws, Targets Abortion Clinics



San Antonio City Council voted 7-4 Thursday to add a hurdle to abortion care in San Antonio.

Now, ambulatory surgical centers, a legislatively mandated requirement for abortion care from Texas' representatives, are defined in the city's zoning rules, requiring the centers to get approval from City Council and the zoning board if they plan to open in Neighborhood Commercial and C-1 zoning districts.

This is no surprise. For more than a year now, a group calling itself the San Antonio Family Association, or sometimes BloodMoneySA, has protested the ambulatory surgical center at 2140 Babcock, arguing it's not properly zoned. This is the same anti-choice group that protests the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March and recently lashed out at St. Luke's Episcopal School for accepting a transgender student. 

However, the vote doesn't effect the ambulatory surgical center at 2140 Babcock, but it will have an effect on other types of medical and dental offices, not just ambulatory surgical centers where abortions are conducted.

Councilman Mike Gallagher, who has also targeted funding for teen pregnancy prevention, proposed the rule.

"This process allows for neighborhood associations to be notified of a potential new clinic, or medical or dental operation requesting to operate in their area, and indicate their opinion to the Zoning Commission and their council member before a vote,” Gallagher said in a statement.

That statement seems disingenuous, given that Gallagher — who is supposed to remain nonpartisan — has targeted women's health before, probably with pressure from the vitriolic San Antonio Family Association.

Councilman Joe Krier, who also voted with Gallagher to stop funding that teen pregnancy prevention program, voted for the ambulatory surgical center zoning change along with council members Alan Warrick, Rebecca Viagran, Ray Lopez, Cris Medina and Mayor Ivy Taylor.

Council members Ron Nirenberg, Rey Saldaña, Shirley Gonzales and Roberto Treviño were opposed.

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