Some US cities consider ‘sanctuary for life’ status, others seek to protect abortion rights

know about Some US cities consider ‘sanctuary for life’ status, others seek to protect abortion rights

in details

The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June left it to the states to determine how to regulate access to abortion. But some cities and local governments are making their own decisions about it.

Many municipalities in the US are taking a stance that seeks to protect the right to abortion or ban the procedure.

San Clemente, a lush southern California beach town just south of Laguna Beach, decided to ban abortion by passing a resolution designating it the so-called “sanctuary of life.” Written and introduced by Councilman Steven Knoblock, the measure would have been purely symbolic, since abortion is it legal in california and there are no clinics in the city.

Steve Knoblock at the microphone, his laptop on the desk in front of him.

San Clemente City Councilman Steve Knoblock speaks at a special council meeting at the San Clemente Community Center on August 6. (Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

A woman in a straw bowler hat holds a sign above her head that reads: San Clemente Deserves Better, Vote 4 Betteh, with other visible signs reading: Church Does Not Equal State.

Protesters hold signs at the San Clemente City Council meeting on August 6. (Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Before the resolution could go before the council, the protests led the city to abandon its efforts designate it as an abortion-free zone and removed the measure from the August 16 agenda.

In Florida, where abortion is legal up to 15 weeks of pregnancy, an area of ​​the state became a sanctuary for life two years ago. The Santa Rosa County Commission considered the designation in 2020, but ultimately decided to leave it up to the voters. Floridians in that area passed a referendum in November of that year, making it the first area in the Sunshine State. become a “pro-life sanctuary”.

See also  array

A similar effort is underway in San Angelo, Texas. The city garnered strong support at a City Council meeting to push for the “sanctuary for life” designation, but city councilors also presented it to voters in a special election in November. All councilmembers said they were against abortion but felt voters needed to make the decision, according to the local. fox station.

“What we’re seeing here is more symbolic in nature, and they can easily be trumped by state policy and even more so by federal policy,” Trimmel Gomes, a Florida-based nonpartisan political commentator, told Yahoo News.

“But as I mentioned, seeing the reversal of Roe v. Wade, that has turned the tide to where things are going further back, so the local level where people who want to ban abortion feel empowered to do it.”

That feeling of empowerment is strong in states like Texas, where reproductive rights have taken a hit since the Supreme Court decision.

A man in a pink T-shirt that says Don't be ad*** marches alongside people holding signs that say things like: Abortion is a right and abortion is health care.

Texas abortion rights activists march June 24 to the Austin State Capitol after the repeal of Roe v. Wade on behalf of the US Supreme Court in Austin. (Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images)

In May 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the “Heartbeat Law”, which prohibits abortion from six weeks of pregnancy. That bill went into effect in September 2021, but is now enforceable with Roe’s override.

Dozens of Texas cities have passed a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” ordinance in the past three years, and there are now about 50 such cities across the country, according to Sanctuary cities for the unborna website that tracks ordinances.

See also  UN experts call for accountability in the Melilla tragedy - Morocco

But while some municipalities are taking an anti-abortion stance, others are trying to become sanctuary cities to protect reproductive rights. Cities like Washington, DC, New Orleans, Austin, Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta seek that designation.

Seattle recently became a sanctuary city for abortion rights, and Mayor Bruce Harrell signed various abortion access protections into law on August 15.

“Today, we are taking action to ensure that abortion and reproductive health care are safe and accessible for residents and visitors,” Harrell said before signing four bills into law.

Protesters, many wearing masks, carry signs that read: Defend Roe v.  Wade and Safe & Legal and My Body, My Choice.

Protesters in Seattle gather in support of abortion rights near Pike Place Market on May 3. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

One establishes Seattle as a sanctuary city for women seeking an abortion and prohibits Seattle police from assisting law enforcement in other states with abortion-related warrants.

When the Supreme Court issued its decision in June, some state officials announced repercussions for women who travel out of state for abortions or for the medical professionals who help them, complicating access to reproductive care in places where it is legal.

“The Supreme Court decision is a dangerous leap back decades that will lead to significant and harmful consequences for women and all those seeking abortions,” Harrell said in a statement, “with disproportionate impacts on women of color. We must use all available tools to safeguard the fundamental civil rights of privacy and autonomy.”

In Washington, DC, Councilwoman Brianne K. Nadeau proposed legislation in May to make the district a “human rights sanctuary.”

Brianne Nadeau listens to the microphone with a name tag in front of her that reads: Mrs. Nadeau.

Councilwoman Brianne K. Nadeau on May 2, 2017 at the DC City Council. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Nancy Pelosi, in a green suit, with rows of women dressed in green or white on the steps of the US Capitol behind her holding green cards with white letters that read: Protect Women's Reproductive Freedom.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leads a press conference on July 15 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, with other Democratic congresswomen, to highlight your next vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

The proposal would not only support those seeking abortions, but also those seeking gender-affirming care and contraception, and would also protect the right to same-sex marriage. The bill aims to protect reproductive freedoms and what it describes as the “attack” on human rights “perpetrated” by the high court.

See also  Reproductive Rights Issue Could Appear On Racine City Ballot November 8 As An Advisory Question | Local news

So far, 14 states have banned or enacted restrictions on access to abortion, and more states could move in that direction.

“The activists are really concerned about this,” Gomes said. “And when you look at organizations, health care organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, they have stated that safe legal abortion is a necessary component of women’s health care in the US.”

“So [abortion restrictions are] creating a kind of black market, so to speak, at least abortion rights activists are very concerned on that front,” he added. “With these increases in attempts to restrict safe and legal abortions, it will only make things worse and be detrimental to women’s health.”