The San Clemente City Council is set to consider a resolution in a couple of weeks that would declare the city a “sanctuary for life,” making it an abortion-free zone.

The resolution, which was written and proposed by Councilman Steven Knoblock, states that the council “believes that life begins at conception” and opposes the establishment of Planned Parenthood health centers or any other clinics where abortions are performed.

“There’s probably not a family in America that hasn’t been impacted by abortion,” Knoblock said. “The [resolution] will make people think about what society has been doing for 50 years.”

The resolution, which will be debated at the council’s next meeting on August 16, does not provide specific measures, but does state that the full “power and authority” of the council will be enforced.

It also provides an exception for abortions in cases where the life of the mother is at stake and in cases of rape or incest, stating that the council will remain neutral.

The mention of “God” is included multiple times throughout the resolution.

“We believe that life is ordained by God and that God is the author and finisher of all life. It doesn’t matter if at the beginning or at the end,” the resolution says. “As a council, we will protect and sustain life at every stage. As we ask God to bless America, we must first honor and respect God.”

A draft of the resolution, which has not been officially released by the council, began circulating around the city, angering many in the community. Andrea Schmidt, director of public affairs projects for Planned Parenthood in Orange and San Bernardino counties, is leading the mobilization efforts against the resolution.

As of Tuesday, 15 people “and counting” are scheduled to speak at the next council meeting, Schmidt said.

“Resolutions like this, politically focused and scientifically inaccurate, are extremely dangerous,” Schmidt said. “If this resolution passes, it will send a message to San Clemente residents that their local government does not support their fundamental right to control their own bodies and access quality, affordable health care.”

Schmidt called the resolution a direct attack on the city’s Planned Parenthood health centers, which “thousands of local community members rely on for health care and education services.”

San Clemente Mayor Gene James, who supported the motion to draft the resolution at last month’s City Council meeting, said he was “appalled” and “embarrassed” as he read the draft resolution later in the week. pass.

“It strikes me as a document that could have been written by a Taliban court, and I say that as a pro-life, conservative Republican,” James said.

Seconding Knoblock’s request to debate the resolution at the August meeting, James said “there is no issue more important to me than the protection of the unborn.” At the time, James said he thought the resolution would strictly support the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.

However, “that’s not what was in this document,” James said.

Immediately after reading the draft, James contacted the city manager, city clerk and city attorney to ask if he could withdraw his support for the motion and “just kill” the resolution. He couldn’t do it.

“Mr. Knoblock was making medical claims that just weren’t accurate,” James said. “The fact is California is a legal abortion state and there is nothing the San Clemente council can do about it, regardless of whether we are pro-life or pro-choice.”

James floated the idea of ​​a “support the unborn” resolution in an email to Councilwoman Laura Ferguson in late June. Ferguson denied James’ request to second the motion.

This is not the first time that a resolution introduced by the San Clemente council has caused tensions in the community. Just a year ago, the council voted to declare the city a “Second Amendment Liberty City.” James proposed that resolution.

“This is another resolution that is going to be very contentious and divisive and doesn’t really give us any kind of authority to do anything at all,” Ferguson said. “We have so many things in our city that we could spend time on that this takes time away from us.”

Mayor Pro Tem Chris Duncan, who is running for the 74th Assembly District, echoed Ferguson’s points. He believes that women should have the right to choose and the municipalities should not get involved in the issue.

According to Knoblock, this resolution is necessary because the annulment of Roe vs. Wade put the abortion issue in the hands of the states.

“The cities and counties of the state are part of that process,” Knoblock said. “I just wanted our voice to be heard from San Clemente.”

Schmidt noted that a resolution like this is especially dangerous because it could encourage other cities to adopt similar “destructive and politically motivated” agendas.

James understands that the resolution will disrupt the upcoming council meeting and hopes that community members will “show up angry and rightly so.”

Schmidt said he expects “a large rally of residents who care about their community, support access to healthcare and freedom of choice will speak out in opposition to this resolution, and ultimately we are hopeful that the council will take the correct decision by voting “no”.

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