City of Pueblo in Colorado rejects Sanctuary City for Unborn ordinance

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily of Live Action or Live Action News.

On Monday, the city of Pueblo, Colorado (pop. 112,368), voted 4-3 in favor of tabling the “Ordinance Requiring Abortion Providers In Pueblo, Colorado to Comply with Federal Law.” The vote came as a disappointing blow to the effort to see Pueblo become a “sanctuary city for the unborn.”

The effort, which was birthed as a result of late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart’s intentions to expand into the city, gained significant traction after the ordinance survived its first reading vote of 5-2 just two weeks prior on Monday, November 28.

While the majority of those who have attended the council meetings have been pro-life, the movement in Pueblo has had its fair share of opposition. On Wednesday, December 7, a special work session was held to hear from experts on both sides of the issue. However, the night before the work session, experts on the pro-life side were were disinvited by Councilwoman Sarah Martinez — who claimed the speakers held “biased opinions” which would cause a “circus in her chambers.”

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Believing this action by the Pueblo City Council to be a classic case of viewpoint discrimination, a lawyer from the American Center for Law and Justice soon got involved and flew to the December 7 council meeting to encourage the city council to make the situation right.

This was rectified by having three of the speakers who were originally scheduled for December 7 speak at a special work session at 5:30 pm Monday, December 12, prior to the 7:00 pm city council meeting. During the special work session experts from both sides were heard. Video can be seen below:

On one side was me (a Director with Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities For the Unborn Initiative who has helped 61 communities and one county throughout the United States pass similar ordinances), Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell (the former Solicitor General for Texas and the architect of the Texas Heartbeat Act and the Pueblo Ordinance), and Josh Craddock (a Colorado attorney and constitutional scholar with the James Wilson Institute and the former editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy).

On the other side was Colorado Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), House Majority Leader and author of Colorado’s Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), alongside Pueblo City Attorney Daniel Kogovsek.

Photo: Mark Lee Dickson

While both sides presented, these were the only voices which were allowed to speak on Monday night.

Although members from throughout the community had stood in line for hours to receive a ticket to speak in public comment later that night, not one who signed up to speak was given the opportunity.

Family Worship Center Pastor Quin Friberg shared, “They told everyone inside the council chambers that we had to leave the chambers, exit the building, and circle around to get back in line to come in for public comment. That’s when they voted to table the ordinance, after they cleared out the council chambers and while we all were waiting in line outside to get to the building.” Friberg continued, “It’s disappointing that many people could not give public testimony after Sarah Martinez told them they’d get their chance Monday, and then when the time came she chose to support tabling the ordinance removing the public’s voice.”

Inside the almost empty council chambers, President Heather Graham made a motion to table the ordinance, with Councilman Dennis Flores seconding the motion. Councilmembers Vincent Ortega and Sarah Martinez joined Graham and Flores in voting to table the measure — with the intention to kill the measure indefinitely. Voting against tabling the measure were Councilwomen Regina Maestri and Lori Winner, both staunch supporters of the measure, and Councilman Larry Atencino — who appeared to be one of the most antagonistic against the ordinance at the Monday night work session prior to the council meeting.

After the meeting Josh Craddock shared, “Sadly, the Pueblo City Council tabled the proposed ordinance without allowing members of the public to speak—including the dozens of pro-lifers who waited in frigid temperatures to voice their support. But I’m thankful for the courage of Councilwomen Regina Maestri and Lori Winner in supporting this proposed ordinance. And I have no doubt that other cities and towns in Colorado will carry the baton to become sanctuary cities for the unborn.”

Mary Curtis, Abortion Free Cities Community Coordinator with Students For Life of America, shared, “It was clear that the residents of Pueblo were unwilling to back down against the abortion bully as they came together to fight for life, but the abortion lobby has once again imposed their bottom line to the detriment of a community’s wishes. However, the fight in Pueblo is long from over and the pro-life coalition there will continue in efforts to free this community from the violence of abortion.”

While the ordinance crafted for Pueblo, Colorado, was different from ordinances which have been passed in communities across Texas, Nebraska, Ohio, Louisiana, Iowa, and New Mexico, it is part of the same family of ordinances authored by the same minds and it is believed that the ordinance would have accomplished the same goal: an abortion-free community.

The fight against abortion is not expected to die down anytime soon in Colorado and throughout the state of Colorado. The Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative encourages any Colorado resident who wishes to see abortion end in their community to sign the online petition.

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