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Bakersfield mulls anti-abortion resolution

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POSTED September 22, 2013 6:08 p.m.

BAKERSFIELD . (AP) — The Bakersfield City Council is bracing for a large turnout when a key committee considers an anti-abortion resolution Monday.

The resolution before the council’s Legislative and Litigation Committee praises groups that want to inform the public about “alternatives to abortion” and points out that the city “maintains that there are many positive and feasible alternatives to abortion,” the Bakersfield Californian reported in Sunday’s editions.

The resolution was drafted as a compromise after City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said an ordinance under consideration earlier this year could open the city to litigation. If the resolution is approved, it still needs a majority vote from the City Council. Since resolutions don’t carry the weight of law, it would not be enforced.

Monday’s meeting was moved from a conference room to the council chambers across the street to accommodate the expected crowds.

Anti-abortion advocates have favored an ordinance restricting abortion. Others maintained that public officials should stay out of the issue.

Tim Palmquist of LifeSavers Ministries said he preferred an ordinance but could live with a resolution.

After some thought, “we saw there could be some practical benefit to a resolution,” he said.

But Jennifer Smith disagreed, saying that the City Council has more pressing issues to worry about.

“The Bakersfield City Council has no business trying to legislate any portion of someone’s life,” she said.

Councilman Terry Maxwell, who chairs the council committee, said he hoped emotions won’t fly during the discussion. Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan said she thinks the committee needs to make a stronger statement.

Gennaro said the issue can’t keep coming up for debate.

“At some point, there’s a need for closure. We can’t keep bringing this back to the committee,” Gennaro said. “I think, on both sides of the spectrum, the people are expecting the council to make a decision.”

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