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Following a resolution from its August 16 meeting, the San Clemente City Council voted 3-1 to remove the proposal that would have sought to make the city a “Sanctuary For Life,” blocking the zoning or permitting of any facility that would provide abortions in the city.

City Councilman Steve Knoblock first proposed the resolution banning abortions in San Clemente. 

The resolution said in part: 

“…The City Council of San Clemente considers life to begin at conception…the Council stands firmly against any medications which cause a miscarriage…the Council…stands firmly against the presence in the City of Planned Parenthood clinics or any other clinics where abortion is practiced…”

Saturday, residents were given a chance to speak during public comment, which lastest about two hours. 

The majority of residents who addressed the council during the special meeting criticized the proposal, accusing Knoblock of over-reaching and seeking to impose his personal religious beliefs on the city’s women. Many also expressed concern about the effect of such a move on the city’s reputation and business interests.

A smaller number expressed support for the resolution and praised Knoblock for his courage in bringing it forward.

“I don’t think this is something cities should be dealing with,” Chris Duncan, a fellow San Clemente City Councilman, told CBSLA. 

Major Gene James took responsibility for holding the special meeting on short notice. “We did rush this, and the reason why we rushed it was many of you wrote to us wanting it rushed,” James said.

The mayor added that the council received threats over the divisive issue that had to be referred to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office.

“I will take responsibility to say I wanted to do this today. As the mayor, I did have the authority to call for a meeting with 24 hours notice. That was not intended to silence anyone … it was an attempt on my part to put this behind us.”

The imbroglio showed how the abortion issue has become a hot-button topic in local governments across the United States in the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal throughout the country, sending the issue back to each individual state.

Knoblock told the Los Angeles Times that he wanted to send a message to the rest of California that “we think life is important, and we think 60 million unborn babies that have been killed in the womb is a sad thing and shouldn’t be continued.”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and two local law school professors called the potential resolution unenforceable earlier this week.

San Clemente City Council blocks proposal to ban abortion clinics

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