LOS ANGELES — A proposal to declare San Clemente an abortion-free city has died after an emotional meeting where dozens of residents spoke on both sides of the issue.
The City Council voted 3-1 Saturday to withdraw the proposal from the agenda of an upcoming meeting.
Despite San Clemente’s reputation as a conservative bastion, the proposal has mostly fallen flat.
In heavily Democratic California, where the right to an abortion will continue to be protected by state officials after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the proposal’s effect would have been largely symbolic.
Many residents, including some opposed to abortion, have argued that the issue is outside the city’s purview and that officials should focus on local concerns like homelessness.
The coastal Orange County city has no hospitals or clinics that perform abortions, and it has no power to stop residents from seeking the procedure elsewhere.
City Councilman Steve Knoblock wrote the proposal, which declared San Clemente a “sanctuary for life,” stated that life begins at conception and opposed the establishment of clinics that provide abortions.
On Saturday, he was the only vote in favor of keeping it on the agenda.
Hundreds of people filled seats inside the San Clemente Community Center, including an overflow room with a live feed. Abortion rights advocates chanted outside.
Inside, too, the dominant sentiment was anger, with some residents terming the proposal “overreach,” “idiotic” or “extremist.”