Human Life Resolution moves forward

Human Life Resolution moves forward

Bakersfield Legislative and Litigation Committee approves abortion-related resolution.
BAKERSFIELD - The city's legislative and litigation committee moved forward with a Human Life Resolution Monday. The resolution states, the city praises groups that want to inform the public about alternatives to abortion.

However, both pro-life and pro-choice activists said they walked away from the meeting disappointed.

The committee had two proposals to discuss: an ordinance and a resolution. The ordinance would have gone in the city municipal code book, essentially making Bakersfield the first California city to take a stand on abortion. Two of the three council members, however, decided to table the ordinance indefinitely and instead clear the way for a resolution to go before the city council.

More than 30 people attended the meeting that lasted two hours. The three council members stated publicly they are pro-life, but were hesitant to approve any ordinances throwing support behind pro-life activists, that would open the city up to lawsuits. Council members said they're already fielding phone calls from the ACLU.

Instead, the proposed resolution reads: "Organizations that advocate for, and educate the public about, alternatives to abortion should be commended."

"There's no issue with the city doing a resolution that states where we as the council feel where we stand on this life issue and commending those who fight for life in our community," said council member Russell Johnson.

"I don't find that it would place the city in certainly the exposure to litigation as an ordinance would," said City attorney Ginny Gennaro.

Pro-choice advocates said any city position on abortion could pave the way toward restricting women's rights and access to services.

"Shame on you for trying to take away women's rights," said one woman during public comment.

Pro-life supporters said the resolution doesn't do anything to help stop abortions in the city, but gives unnecessary kudos to pro-life organizations.

"We're trying to defend the human life being taken, not to give 'atta-boys' to what we do," said pro-life advocate Terri Palmquist.

One resident said he didn't come to support either viewpoint, but was concerned further council discussion will waste taxpayer money.

"I can understand the council choosing the resolution, having a toothless 'Hey! Pat ya on the back!' It's a lot easier to deal with. But, the reason they're doing this is because 15 months they've been dealing with it," said 7 Bates.

"It isn't correct for a municipality to say, 'Well, we're going to make a statement' and that statement be 'We're going to defy law,' because we want to make the statement."

The three council members requested another review and rewrite of the resolution before it goes to the Bakersfield City Council for a vote.
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