BAKERSFIELD — A large turnout is expected today at the city hall chambers in Bakersfield, California as local residents will gather to debate a proposed resolution that commends organizations in the city that provide alternatives to abortion.
The Bakersfield City Council’s Legislative and Litigation Committee is set to hold a hearing at noon to hear feedback from area residents as to whether the resolution should move forward.
Earlier this year, the council had been asked to pass an ordinance barring funds from being granted to entities that provide abortion, but city attorney Ginny Gennaro believed that it would not pass constitutional muster in the courts.
Therefore, alternatively, Gennaro crafted a resolution that simply states that the city commends groups that present abortion alternatives and “maintains that there are many positive and feasible alternatives to abortion.”
“The Bakersfield City Council has no business trying to legislate any portion of someone’s life,” local resident Jennifer Smith told the Associated Press in regard to the initial proposed regulation.
Tim Palmquist of Lifesavers Ministries, who had presented the drafted ordinance earlier in the year, told reporters that he could live with the resolution although he preferred a law instead.
“We saw there could be some practical benefit to a resolution,” he stated.
Pro-life supporters will wear white to the hearing today to symbolize the innocence of children, while abortion proponent will wear pink to symbolize “women’s rights.”
The resolution comes at a time when the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico may pass the nation’s first late-term abortion ban. As previously reported, voters will decide in November whether to ban abortions after 20 weeks within the city limits.
“By 8 weeks after fertilization, the unborn child reacts to touch. After 20 weeks, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human,” the proposed statute states. “Consequently, there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.”
Therefore, “the abortion shall not be performed or attempted, if the probable post-fertilization age … of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater,” it outlines, providing exceptions for the life and health of the mother.
The “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance” was presented by the local pro-life organization Project Defending Life and is able to be placed on the ballot as the group gathered enough signatures to mandate that city council either vote on it or put it up for a vote.
“The will of the people has prevailed tonight and we are excited to move forward to ensure that women and their babies are protected from perilous late term abortions,” Tara Shaver of the Project Defending Life told reporters. “We are confident moving forward that Albuquerque residents don’t want their city to be known for being the ‘go to’ place for late term abortions. Albuquerque is one step closer to seeing this come to an end.”
According to reports, in just 20 days, the organization gathered nearly 27,000 signatures in a petition to put the ordinance on the ballot. Polls show that 54 percent of Albuquerque residents support the ban, and 39 percent oppose it.