The San Clemente, California, city council called a special meeting Saturday and voted 3-1 to remove a resolution that would have made the city a “sanctuary for life,” following opposition from council members and the community.
The three-hour special meeting Saturday increased tensions between dozens of San Clemente residents and the city council, resulting in a vote to slash the pro-life resolution from the agenda of an upcoming meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times. All but one of the city’s five council members are Republicans.
Councilman Steve Knoblock wrote and proposed the resolution that recognized life beginning at conception and stood “firmly against” Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics having a presence in the city of nearly 65,000 people. The resolution met immediate backlash from abortion rights supporters in the city and even from the Republican mayor, Gene James, who initially seconded the motion to draft the resolution.
“I’m pro-life, I won’t apologize for that, I can’t apologize for that,” James said, according to the Voice of OC. “There are different shades of pro choice, and there are different shades of pro life. If that document created by Mr. Knoblock is the litmus test for being pro life, I am not pro life.”
James previously said he was “appalled” after reading the draft of the resolution, claiming that it “could have been written by a Taliban tribunal.”
Andrea Schmidt, Planned Parenthood’s public affairs project manager for Orange and San Bernardino counties, also spoke out against the resolution, saying the proposal was “extremely dangerous.” She called the pro-life resolution “politically focused and scientifically inaccurate.”
In the two-page resolution, Knoblock references the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, and writes that it is the council’s duty to “honor and respect God” in regards to banning abortion.
“We believe that life is God-ordained and God is the author and finisher of every life. No matter if at the beginning or at the end. As a city council, we will protect and sustain life at every stage. As we ask God to bless America, we first have to honor and respect God,” the resolution reads.
Knoblock, the only council member who ended up voting to keep his resolution on the agenda, defended his position against accusations that it was too extreme.
“We need to value life, I know everyone doesn’t agree with that,” Knoblock said. “The suggestion we have a resolution of this kind is tantamount to a Taliban tribunal really surprised me. The Taliban kills innocent human beings. Abortion kills innocent human beings. So to put them together is interesting.”