County Council votes down abortion resolution

Chase Cook
Contact Reporterccook@capgaznews.com

The Anne Arundel County Council voted down an abortion resolution that would have recognized the rights of “preborn” children after an hours long testimony from dozens of residents.

The council voted 4-3 after lengthy testimony against Tuesday night on the resolution. Republican and Democrats split the vote with Councilman John Grasso, R-Glen Burnie serving as the swing vote.

County police and fire officials were on hand to control the crowd of more than 200 people. A sign was placed at the front of the meeting room that detailed the allowable number— 200 — and the rules for letting people in and out of the room.

The controversial resolution — introduced by Council Chairman Michael Peroutka, R-Millersville — recognizes “preborn” children as human and deserving of protection.

It also required the county health department file an annual report on abortions within the county and the “emotional” effects of the procedure. The reporting requirement was removed by an amendment before the final vote.

Abortion rights advocates called the bill a first step in restricting women’s health care choices. Seventy-one people signed up to speak.

One of those speakers was Senate District 33 candidate Eve Hurwitz. The Democrat is facing Republican state Sen. Ed Reilly in November.

She detailed her personal abortion story in which she terminated a pregnancy after she asked her partner to use a condom and he did not.

The resolution gives “more rights and respect to zygotes and embryos than women” and implies that women are solely at fault for becoming pregnant, she said.

“What happened to me -and what happens to millions of women in America and around the world - amounted to reproductive rape, or reproductive coercion,” Hurwitz said. “I had never consented to being impregnated. In fact, I specifically and repeatedly asked not to be.”

Supporters of the resolution said it was their duty to protect unborn children. They also said it doesn’t limit health care rights for women because the council can’t limit access to abortion services.

In a post on his website, Peroutka likened abortion to the Holocaust.

Over the years, pro-life efforts by many God-fearing, moral individuals and organizations have ranged from street prayer and demonstration to pro-life education and from political efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade to legal arguments regarding “personhood,” Peroutka wrote on his website.

“While these efforts have saved lives and won souls, they have not been able to overcome the evil scheme perpetrated by pro-abortion forces and sustained and validated by a judicial system which has abandoned the Biblical principles on which it was founded.”

During the meeting, the councilman said abortion rights advocates have already conceded that "preborn" children are human beings and that abortion is an act of "destruction."

"Every baby that dies, dies locally," Peroutka said.

Other business

In other business, the council unanimously passed a master plan for parks, recreation and land preservation. The plan serves as recommendations on where to place parks and recreation fields.

The plan also recommends land purchases. Those recommendations include: 70 acres of land for the new South County Athletic Fields in Edgewater, 50 acres for athletic fields in the Pasadena-Marley Neck area and 50 acres for a new West Area Athletic Complex among other acquisitions.

The council also debated legislation that increased police access to massage establishments in the county. Bill 69-18 allows the chief of police or other police officers to enter the public area of a massage business for an inspection.

Councilman Pete Smith, D-Severn, introduced the legislation because of concerns surrounding human trafficking and prostitution at massage businesses. Anne Arundel is only behind Baltimore County in human trafficking cases.

“This will allow the police to interact with those establishments and inspect them to make sure they are running an appropriate business,” Smith said during the meeting.

Councilman Chris Trumbauer, D-Annapolis, raised concerns the bill bypasses warrant requirements to inspect those businesses.

“I”m not comfortable as yet of where this is,” Trumbauer said. “I think there might be a little more work that needs to be done.”

Miniature pigs?

Miniature pigs may have a home in the county after Grasso put forth a bill that sets requirements to keep the pigs on their property.

Grasso loves to put forth animal bills, calling them “chum chum” legislation. Chum chum is Grasso-ism for a family pet or a loved animal.

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