A lot of residents are not happy about this; according to KVUE,
One woman produced a stack of over 10 thousand petitions from Travis County residents who were opposed to using taxpayer money to fund abortions -- she reminded the board managers that's twice the number of people who voted for the healthcare district in the first place.
Of course, the unelected board didn't care what people thought, and so they voted unanimously to continue to fund abortions despite the rumblings that they may be in for a legal fight.
But I think I know why this board doesn't care what individual people, in whatever numbers, think about it.
Let's start by looking at the FY2010 budget for the district, or Central Health, or whatever they want to be called. (Maybe they figure that a nondescript name such as "Central Health" will make people forget they're being taxed to pay for it.) The total operating budget for the upcoming year is $98,027,945, based on a plan to reduce property taxes to $0.0674 per $100 of property value (which, I'm guessing, will still result in a tax increase due to continually rising appraisals). The budget set aside for the three abortion providers' contracts is $450,000, or 0.459% of the total budget.
Now let's consider a typical Travis County home. Per this site, the median home price in Travis County earlier this year was $218,000, so we'll give our typical home that value. We'll also assume it has a homestead exemption because, well, mine does. Therefore the taxes for FY2010 that will go toward the healthcare district will be:
$218,000 x 80% (due to the exemption) x ($0.0674 / $100) = $117.55
And thus the amount of money that our typical Travis County homeowner will be putting toward funding abortions is 0.459% of $117.55, or a whopping $0.54.
So, at 54 cents per opinion, even having 10,000 people opposed to abortion doesn't matter to the board. 10,000 votes might matter, but since this board isn't elected, it's moot in this case. Such is life in deep blue Travis County.
p.s. Mrs. Snowed would like to be refunded her 54 cents now, thank you very much.
p.p.s. Though the board doesn't have to answer for this, three Austin City Council members (Randi Shade, Laura Morrison, and Sheryl Cole) may, based on this tweet from Laura Morrison:
(You can get to the Twitpic here.)
Update 8/11/11: Trumped by state law, Central Health has reversed this decision.