While California Expands Access, Bakersfield City Council Debates Restricting Abortion Access


While California recently signed two laws expanding access to abortion in the state, the town of Bakersfield has debated a resolution to severely restrict abortion access. Following on the heels of Gov. Jerry Brown signing AB 154 and AB 980 last week, the Bakersfield City Council debated the “Human Life Amendment” Wednesday.

As RH Reality Check reported earlier this year, the ordinance was originally designed to completely outlaw abortion. However, legal concerns have caused those pushing the restrictions to scale back in scope.

In its original form, the ordinance would have made it “unlawful within the city of Bakersfield for any entity to receive any form of consideration for the purpose of killing any inhabitants of the city.” However, as the Bakersfield Californian reported, serious concerns about liability and the expense defending the city from lawsuits were raised by the City Attorney Ginny Gennaro. This caused the council to table the ordinance in May.

After several revisions, the council listened to public testimony on the resolution with new language Wednesday. After hearing more than 20 members of the public testify both for and against the ordinance, the council surprised most observers by voting to table the ordinance indefinitely. With a 5-2 vote, with ordinance supporters Jacquie Sullivan and Russell Johnson voting in the minority, the ordinance will not be able to be brought back up without the support of at least four council members.

Jennifer Smith, co-founder of Pro-Choice Kern County, told RH Reality Check that a small group of anti-choice activists tried to pass the ordinance under the radar earlier this year. Reproductive rights advocates organized to fight the proposed ordinance and create Pro-Choice Kern County. Despite the proponents of the ordinance’s assertions, Smith says that their goal is clear. “Their angle is to completely outlaw abortion,” said Smith. “This resolution is all a wedge issue this small group is using to push their agenda.”

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  • randomfactor

    The good guys win one, once in a while.

    • fiona64

      Only if by “good guys” you mean those willing to enslave women to the contents of their uteruses. After all, the uterus is the only thing that a fetus inhabits.

      When you pretend that fetii have rights, you abrogate the rights of born, sapient, sentient women.

      I’m guessing you’re male … which is most likely why you see nothing wrong with this.

  • fiona64

    Fetii do not “inhabit” anything except women’s bodies. What an asinine proposition.

    • Arekushieru

      And, no, the purpose of abortion is NOT to kill the inhabitants of a woman’s BODY. The purpose is to END PREGNANCY. Methinks these people doth need to go back to Biology 101.

  • expect_resistance

    I guess it doesn’t surprise me because Bakersfield is a conservative city. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer “Bakersfield as the eighth-most-conservative city in the United States and the most conservative city in California”

    I wonder if there’s any coincidence that a Hobby Lobby is opening in Bakersfield.

  • BJ Survivor

    So happy that sanity and pro-choice vigilance won out on this one!

  • fiona64

    And I believe that if you are going to talk about education, you should take the time to spell out simple, three- and four-letter words.

    Can you do it??

    BTW — the majority (61 percent) of abortions are sought by married women who already have one or more children in the home. As you say, “google it.” You may be surprised to learn that your assumptions are incorrect.

  • dagobarbz

    Since when is a fetus a legal resident of anywhere?

    • Ella Warnock

      Myintx, is that yooouuuuu downvoting?

      • Jennifer Starr

        Either that or the barely literate Ms. Galvan.

        • Ella Warnock

          I think I’m Disqus illiterate. Now none of my upvotes are showing up for all you ladies’ fine comments.

          • Jennifer Starr

            I’ve been having issues with that too–mainly with my up and down votes appearing and disappearing.

  • dagobarbz

    One of those decisions is using birth control. If one uses birth control, one avoids unwanted pregnancies which can lead to termination of same.

    I bet you if they pass this, the next thing those pinheads will pass is some law restricting access to birth control. Because, jebus or something.

  • dagobarbz

    Bundles of cells aren’t “babies.” The Bible says you are a person when you draw your first breath, if you want to go by that. But back down at the first trimester level, all that is removed is nothing more than that bloody spot you get in chicken eggs sometimes. Looks the same, too. Not a person. Not a baby, Gerber or otherwise.

    A potential human being, true, but potential doesn’t count.

  • Jennifer Starr

    Punctuation. Spelling. For goodness’ sake learn how to use these things. This is just basically one giant run-on sentence, and with the terrible spelling it’s almost impossible to decipher. And, as Fiona has already told you, over two-thirds of women who have abortions already have children. .

  • Arekushieru

    No one talks about abortion because your ilk likes to stigmatize, harass, threaten and shame women who have abortions. During the time MOST abortions are performed a fetus does not have a ‘member’ to speak of. Having an abortion IS being responsible. Pro-Choice is all FOR comprehensive sex ed. Pro-LIFE is the group that wants to keep women ignorant. Sorry. And, no, there will be fewer abortions when birth control is free, accessible and available to all women of childbearing years. It will NOT happen by telling women lies and denying them their rights.

    • Ella Warnock

      Here’s the thing I can’t stand: They’re always saying that pro-choicers get angry and don’t like it when a woman chooses adoption or parenting. It’s just stunning that they can’t see that it’s not HER CHOICE that’s the problem, it’s the possibility that someone was able to SHAME and GUILT and FEAR-MONGER her into that decision. As long as any decision she chooses isn’t coerced, then it’s her CHOICE. Which I respect.

  • Arekushieru

    How can someone ‘self-educate’, themselves? To educate someone requires training. Now, if you’re a teacher/professor, I can see how one can educate themselves with Google. But I think that’s highly unlikely in your case. Finally, not everyone owns or has access to a computer. So, what are you gonna tell THEM? DERP.

  • Ella Warnock

    Wht iz this I donnt evan . . .