City Council moves forward with resolution targeting anti-abortion states

The Long Beach City Council unanimously agreed to ban future official travel to Georgia and Alabama Tuesday night over the two state’s controversial anti-abortion laws that have recently been enacted.

A 6-0 vote directed staff to prepare a resolution denouncing the two laws and blocking travel for official city business to both Georgia and Alabama, as well as any other state that adopts similar “heartbeat” legislation that bans abortion, until those laws are revoked.

Georgia and Alabama have grabbed national headlines in recent months as both have passed restrictive abortion laws, with Georgia’s law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy and Alabama’s law barring abortion at any stage of pregnancy.

Councilmembers Stacy Mungo and Rex Richardson, a co-signer for the item, were absent for Tuesday’s vote and the 1st District City Council seat held by now state Sen. Lena Gonzalez is currently vacant.

“When we have states like these that have decided to try and roll back the efforts of so many before us, I felt, and I believe my colleagues felt, that it was necessary for Long Beach to take a stand and say that ‘We are a pro-choice city’ and that we will send our resources where we see fit,” said Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, the lead author of the agenda item.

The vote could not only end up in a ban on travel, but Pearce’s item also called on the city manager’s office to review current business dealings with the two states, and to potentially seek out other avenues to acquire products or services from other states that do not have heartbeat bills in effect.

Ten other states are considering similar legislation including Maryland, New York, Florida and Illinois, which could land them on the city’s list. It’s not clear as to how much of the city’s business dealings could be impacted by the passage of such a resolution.

Signed copies of the resolution are expected to be sent to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other officials to make clear the city’s stance on women’s right to choose.

Nearly every councilmember spoke in favor of the resolution, as well as Mayor Robert Garcia who said that the city should always stand with women and respect their rights to have a choice in what happens to their bodies and to what kind of health care options they should have.

“I’ll go ahead and say to all the men that we have no business being involved in women’s decisions about their body,” Garcia said. “Just mind your own business and stick to yourself.”

Before the council meeting, advocates of the resolution gathered for a rally outside City Hall to denounce the actions across the country.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.