HARRIS COUNTY (Sept 7, 2022) – Far-right candidate Alexandra Mealer, recently stated in the Houston Chronicle, “Texas abortion laws may be a focus of legislative races throughout the state, but the Harris County judge does not get a vote on state laws regarding abortion.” This dismissive comment is yet another example of the candidate failing to address a major election year issue affecting millions of Harris County women and families.
In the wake of the most massive curtailing of American reproductive rights in a generation, it’s critical to understand the County Judge’s pivotal role in helping to direct and oversee the Harris County Public Health System. Harris County Judge oversees a $100,000,000 budget for public clinics and three public hospitals. Reproductive healthcare services for Harris County women fall under their purview. Additionally, state laws – including Texas’ extreme abortion ban – are enforced locally.
“A critical element of the County Judge’s role is overseeing our public health system that fights against these extreme laws,” said campaign spokesperson Toni Harrison. “As many providers of women’s health care are forced to close their doors, Harris Health and Harris County Public Health will be called upon to provide more and more health services for women. Voters deserve to know where candidates stand on this issue, especially since it impacts the rights of millions of women who live in Harris County.”
Since day one, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has taken a firm stance to protect women’s health and defend their reproductive rights. As County Judge, Hidalgo has advocated expanding access to contraception, sexual education, and family planning, called on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade into law, and put forth resources and programming to address maternal mortality in Harris County.
With law enforcement spending top of mind, it would be beneficial to let voters know Mealer’s stance on which law enforcement resources she is willing to divert away from violent crime to arrest and prosecute physicians providing healthcare services to women in Harris County. After all, Texas law states performing an abortion unless the patient faces “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy” is now a felony punishable by up to life in prison.