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As originally published on ABC 7 on August 3, 2022.

San Clemente's city council is set to consider a resolution that would declare the city an abortion-free zone and a sanctuary for life.

The council is expected to review the non-binding resolution in mid-August.

The resolution was proposed by Councilmember Steve Knoblock and seconded by Mayor Gene James.

It is sparking opposition from activists and some council members, as seen during a July council meeting.

"It's ludicrous," Councilmember Kathy Ward declared.

In a zoom interview Wednesday, Councilmember Laura Ferguson told Eyewitness News the emails to her in opposition of the item were growing.

"The overwhelming theme is for us to not do this because it's already creating such divisiveness," Ferguson said.

In a draft of the document obtained by Eyewitness News, abortions are condemned, except in cases where an emergency medical intervention is necessary to protect the life of the mother and unborn child. The resolution states the city takes a neutral position in instances of rape and or incest. It specifically takes a firm stand against the presence of Planned Parenthood or clinics in the city where abortion is practiced, "at will and on demand."

Planned Parenthood senior vice president of communication for San Bernardino and Orange Counties Nichole Ramirez said the resolution was a threat for many in this community.

The closest Planned Parenthood to the city is in Mission Viejo.

"They called out Planned Parenthood and thousands of people rely on Planned Parenthood for healthcare services, for education, so we know that this doesn't actually represent the views of San Clemente residents," Ramirez said.

Planned Parenthood public affairs manager, Andrea Schmidt said dozens of their supporters had already reached out to the nonprofit and were planning to attend the reading of the resolution in August.

"Supporters have rallied around this. They are outraged that their council is even considering this kind of resolution," Schmidt said.

Eyewitness News reached out Wednesday to James and Knoblock, but had not heard back by the evening.

Ferguson said, just as she was a woman of faith and pro-choice, other council members were entitled to their opinions. In the end, this resolution was nothing more than a symbol of the authors' beliefs according to Ferguson.

"It's non-binding so it doesn't have any teeth in terms of superseding state law, the current or whatever Prop. 1 brings our way, should that be adopted by the voters," Ferguson said.

In November, California voters will consider Proposition 1 to enshrine protections for abortion in the state constitution.

The Aug. 16 reading is open to the public. Anyone wanting to attend and comment can find more information on the city's website, or through Planned Parenthood.



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