San Clemente’s mayor is calling city council members in for a special meeting tomorrow morning to discuss killing a controversial abortion ban resolution before their regular Tuesday night meeting.
The resolution in question would make the city a “Sanctuary For Life,” if approved, blocking the zoning or permitting of any facility that would provide an abortion in the city.
“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,” the resolution states. “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.”
To view a copy of the proposed resolution, click here.
The meeting starts at 11:00 Saturday morning, and can be viewed live on the city’s YouTube page.
The resolution was introduced by City Councilman Steve Knoblock at the council’s July 16 meeting, and while Mayor Gene James initially supported a discussion on it, he backed out after reading it, and is now calling for a special meeting to cancel discussion on it altogether.
Under state law, special meetings can be called 24 hours in advance to discuss time sensitive issues.
“California is still an abortion on demand state, and there’s not much the city of San Clemente can do in regards to that,” James said in a Monday phone interview. “The one thing I don’t want to do is create a resolution that’s going to be divisive or appear to be hateful. Although I’m pro-life I have serious reservations about this particular resolution.”
Knoblock released the document publicly at the July 16 meeting, but after a Voice of OC story earlier this week, it began raising concerns from residents throughout Orange County
James did not respond to requests for comment from reporters Friday morning.
Rather than discuss the item at the council’s August 16 meeting as was originally planned, James is calling a meeting to remove the item entirely before that.
In a phone call Friday afternoon, San Clemente City Attorney Scott Smith said the council technically won’t be voting on the ban, just whether or not they should discuss the proposal in the future.
And he said residents would be able to speak on the issue at Saturday’s meeting.
“If you’re speaking about whether it should be taken up, it’s hard not to speak to the merits,” Smith said. “The public should have the chance to talk about the item.”
Under San Clemente city policy, Knoblock only needs one other member to support his resolution for the discussion to go ahead at the August 16 meeting.
His four colleagues have publicly come out against his proposal since the July meeting.
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a Groundtruth initiative. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.
And since you’ve made it this far,
You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.