SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — The Springdale City Council passed a resolution designating it as Arkansas’ “first pro-life city.”
The 6-1 decision came Tuesday night after council member Colby Fulfer brought the resolution before the Committee of the Whole on Aug. 5. Fulfer said the message behind the proclamation is for Planned Parenthood to find another city.
The health organization stopped providing services last month at its Fayetteville facility. The group said it will announce a new location.
Supporters and opponents of the resolution filled the council chambers and the lobby at the entrance during Tuesday night’s vote, the Northwest Democrat-Gazette reported .
Keith Underhill urged the council to vote for the resolution.
“It’s who we are,” he said.
Meanwhile, John Mathias, a nurse, said church and state should be separated, noting that Fulfer was sending the wrong message to northwest Arkansas.
A woman who attended the meeting said she’s been a patient of Planned Parenthood for 22 years.
“They’re probably the reason I have not had an abortion,” she said. “I’m sad the city doesn’t feel like it was good care, that they’re not welcome here.”
Another man told the council that he no longer has access to medical care for his HIV.
“You say you’re pro-life; back it with action,” he said.
The resolution states that the city “affirms the value of human life at every stage,” and lists various anti-abortion legislation passed by the Arkansas General Assembly since 2005. The measure argues “equality takes on its greatest form at the point of creation.”
Fulfer told residents on Tuesday that an overwhelming majority of constituents support life from the beginning to the end.
City Attorney Ernest Cate said the resolution is merely a statement and that cities have the authority to make statements. He added Planned Parenthood could still open an office in Springdale.
Fulfer echoed Cate, explaining that the resolution doesn’t ban anyone from making a choice about their own personal health care.
Resident Eddie Cantu said his mom tried to have an abortion when she was pregnant with him in 1962.
“She drank all kinds of things to cause an abortion and none of them worked,” he said. “It’s not that she didn’t want me. But if there had been a clinic, I might not be here today.”