ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The St. Petersburg City Council considered a measure on that would have provided money to help women travel out of state for an abortion. On Thursday, the council voted against it, but not without hearing opinions from both sides.

City council voted against providing $50,000 for the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund. The fund helps Floridians who are more than 15 weeks pregnant with travel-related expenses for abortions at out of state clinics. Last year, the nonprofit funded more than 1,000 abortions for women in the Tampa Bay area.  

The vote came after the Florida Senate passed a bill earlier this week that would ban abortion after six weeks, a measure backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Florida currently prohibits abortions after 15 weeks.

Several council members say the bill is clear, and they expressed concerns that if passed, they could face repercussions

“Are we willing, as a city, to endure the backlash that would come with such a challenge?” said St. Petersburg City Councilmember John Muhammad. “It’s really not about the $50,000. It’s a principal stand, a principal statement.”

As council gathered inside the chambers, anti-abortion protesters rallied outside city hall.

“We object to this on moral grounds and abortion takes a human life and abortion takes a life of a human baby,” said Scott Mahurin, the founder of Florida Preborn Rescue. “We don’t think the city of St. Petersburg should be involved in that.”

Mahurin believes the funds should be allocated to other issues the city is facing.

“It was shocking that a local government would be spending taxpayer dollars on abortions,” said State Rep. Berny Jacques. “The reason why it’s shocking is because it’s illegal under state law to spend taxpayer dollars in this way.”

Rep. Jacques said it’s also a wasteful and frivolous use of tax dollars.   

“We will do everything in our power to make sure that no funding is going to any municipalities, especially one that is actively taking a vote and considering sending money to abortion providers we will be very active in that,” Jacques said.

“Our state law is pretty clear and we’re it’s not we see how it could be interpreted that puts us at great risk here and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take when we have other ways to reach the same goal,” said Gina Driscoll, St. Petersburg City Councilmember.

Councilmember Driscoll voted against the measure. She said it has the potential to create many more problems than it can solve.

“In St. Petersburg, the State of Florida and nationwide, there are passionate beliefs and advocates on both sides of this important debate,’ said Mayor Ken Welch in a statement. “It is our duty as Americans to protect the process of democracy and ensure that all voices have an opportunity to be heard, as was just carried out in our Council Chambers. I’m thankful to our City Council’s dedication to inclusive progress and partnership as we work to move our city forward.”

While City Council voted against the funding, they did however, approve a resolution supporting the rights of residents to make reproductive health decisions for themselves, including abortion care.