Anne Arundel County Council to consider abortion resolution, plasma center restrictions

Chase Cook
Contact Reporterccook@capgaznews.com

The Anne Arundel County Council returns Tuesday with a pair of controversial items — an abortion resolution and legislation that sets restrictions on locations for plasma centers and methadone clinics.

Both bills are expected to draw comments from residents and council members. Anyone wishing to make public comments can sign up before the meeting begins. The Council meets at 7 p.m. every other Monday, or Tuesday due to a holiday.

The next several council meetings are expected to be robust. The upcoming election means the council can’t leave old business to the new council. Introduced bills need to be heard and voted on before the new council takes office in December.

The council’s agenda also includes a vote on the county’s land preservation and parks master plan. The council also will consider legislation allowing residents to keep miniature pigs.

Abortion resolution

Resolution 30-18 proclaims that all “preborn” children are human and deserve protection. It also calls on the Anne Arundel County Department of Health to generate annual reports on the number of abortions in the county as well as the “emotional” impact on women who undergo the procedure. The resolution was introduced by County Council chairman Michael Peroutka, R-Millersville.

The resolution is likely to be defeated Tuesday as Councilman John Grasso, R-Glen Burnie, said he will vote against it. He said he personally doesn’t like abortion, and doesn’t think the government should tell women what to do with their bodies. Abortion has been legal nationwide since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

County Executive Steve Schuh said he supports the resolution because he agrees with its message on “preborn” children. He also said the reporting requirements wouldn’t overly tax the county’s health department.

Peroutka has not returned previous requests for comment about the resolution. He did write about it on his personal website, Peroutka Town Hall. He likens abortion to the Holocaust and hopes his resolution will serve as a template for counties across the nation. Peroutka was defeated in the June primary election by Amanda Fiedler.

“The evil scheme I refer to is the indoctrination of the American culture in the false belief that unwanted or inconvenient preborn children are not human beings,” Peroutka wrote. “It’s known as DEHUMANIZATION. It’s the same scheme used by Nazis under Hitler to murder six million Jews.”

Planned Parenthood of Maryland held a rally Thursday in opposition to the resolution. Opponents to the resolution called the bill a first step in restricting the health care rights of women. They also questioned whether the County Council should consider such a resolution when the council doesn’t have authority over abortion.

Plasma centers and methadone clinics

Grasso and councilman Pete Smith, D-Severn, have teamed up on legislation that would create new restrictions for plasma centers, transitional housing and methadone clinics.

The bill places new requirements on plasma center developments. If passed, a plasma center won’t be allowed within 1,000 feet of a dwelling or school, or within one mile of another plasma center, state-licensed medical clinic, medical marijuana dispensary or a transitional housing facility, according to the legislation.

State-licensed medical clinics — often known as methadone clinics — would face the same restrictions as well as requiring the clinic be on higher trafficked roads.

Smith and Grasso said the bill aims to reduce groupings of plasma centers, transitional housing and methadone clinics. They pointed to CSL Plasma in Glen Burnie and a couple of state-licensed clinics near that location.

But those clinics are already more than a mile away from the plasma center. Grasso said he will be putting forth an amendment Tuesday that would increase the distance requirement to three miles.

Methadone clinics are used to help people recovering from opioid addictions. Some residents in the Ferndale and Linthicum areas said they believe those clinics — coupled with the light rail stop — have increased crime in the area. Police have disputed those claims.

“Do you see one of these methadone clinics in Severna Park,” Grasso said. “I’m not going to put my people out to put up and handle the whole county’s issues.”

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