Twice, members of the Fresno City Council attempted to place a resolution on the agenda to support reproductive rights. And twice, Miguel Arias and Esmeralda Soria have pulled the item before the agenda went to print. But, a city councilman is building opposition in case the resolution rises again.
Garry Bredefeld, the most conservative member of the city council, says he is not waiting for a third time. He has scheduled a 10 a.m. Tuesday news conference in front of City Hall to denounce the potential resolution and plans to have several pro-life and religious figures by his side.
“Every human life has value and should be protected. Each unborn child conceived is a blessing from God. Abortion is evil and must come to an end,” Bredefeld wrote on a Facebook post.
“What in the past was supposed to be ‘safe, legal and rare’ now results in the deaths of nearly 900,000 unborn infants every year in the United States. The proposed resolution supporting abortion is wrong and extremely divisive. There is no rationale for it being on the Council agenda except for radical City Council politicians pandering to those in support of abortion.”
According to the CDC, 629,898 legal abortions were reported to the agency in 2019. However, the CDC notes that the reporting of abortions is voluntary.
Mayor Will Attend News Conference
Mayor Jerry Dyer will also appear at the news conference. In a news release, he said this is not an issue for the city council to take a stand on.
“The issue of abortion, like gun control and capital punishment, falls under state and federal law. Local jurisdictions have no authority in deciding these issues. This council resolution is designed to do one thing — to divide this community. This resolution is in direct opposition to the One Fresno philosophy which is designed to unite our community,” Dyer said.
Whether such a resolution is subject to a veto is up to the city attorney’s interpretation.
Arias and Soria pulled the item from the draft agendas of Jan. 27 and Feb. 10, the city clerk says. Arias did not want to comment when asked by GV Wire. Soria did not reply to a phone message or text.
Resolution to ‘Defend’ Reproductive Rights
The proposed resolution would declare Fresno “a champion and defender” of reproductive rights. Bredefeld posted the resolution and the draft agenda on his Facebook page.
The resolution would also “calls for the United States Congress to protect reproductive freedom nationwide by enacting legislation to protect access to abortion and other reproductive care without government interference.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wants to make California an abortion “sanctuary” he told the Associated Press in December. Members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus have proposed several bills to ensure abortion rights, for even those coming to California from out of state.
“The reality is that a lack of access to services across the United States disproportionately affects communities of color, low-income communities, trans, and other marginalized communities because they do not have the means to travel far, including across state lines for an abortion. This fight is not just about a person’s right to control their own destiny, but about ensuring our most vulnerable community members have equal access. It’s about equity,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, said last month.
The National Debate Over Abortion
Battles over the future of abortion are occurring around the United States. Republican lawmakers are proposing new restrictions modeled after laws in Texas and Mississippi that present a direct challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, while some Democratic-led states are working to preserve or expand access.
The activity in state legislatures was anticipated after the U.S. Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, signaled it was ready to make seismic changes to the nationwide right to abortion that has stood for nearly half a century. If the court overturns Roe v. Wade entirely, the decision on whether to keep abortion legal would fall to the states.