SPRINGDALE — The Springdale City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Monday unanimously approved a statement proclaiming Springdale a pro-life city.
The council will vote on the measure during its meeting Aug. 13.
Council members offered little discussion. Neither did the audience — and Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse directly asked for comments twice.
Council member Colby Fulfer said he put the measure forward because Planned Parenthood has considered a location in Springdale for its new office.
The organization stopped providing services July 25 at its location on North Crossover Road in Fayetteville, according to the office’s website. Planned Parenthood said it will announce a new location.
Fulfer said the city’s measure sends a message to Planned Parenthood, “respectfully asking the abortion provider to find another city.”
Calls to the regional headquarters of Planned Parenthood were not returned Monday evening.
City Attorney Ernest Cate said the City Council’s measure is not legally binding.
Cities have the authority to make statements by resolution, he said. For example, the City Council passed a resolution encouraging the Legislature to pass the Internet sales tax.
Fulfer insisted that nothing in this measure says abortion is illegal in Springdale.
“The federal government has already made that decision,” he said. “We are not trying to overturn Roe v. Wade .
“There’s no way we’re going to ban abortion. We want to say the government of Springdale supports life from creation to conception to the end stages of life.”
Fulfer said the city has made a commitment to educate all children and provide economic opportunity for everyone, as evidenced by the city’s low unemployment rates.
Springdale pro-life resolutionView
And, Fulfer continued, the city supports several programs and nonprofit agencies that help people in desperate situations. He cited the city’s Block Grant program helping low-income homeowners rehabilitate their property and the city’s Senior Center as evidence.
“As Colby said, we are a welcoming city,” said council member Kathy Jaycox, after the meeting.
She said her only concern with the measure was that it might prohibit a property owner from renting, selling or using his property as he wanted.
“I don’t want to take that right away, but I do support pro-life,” Jaycox said.
Cate assured that property owners could use their land as they want, as long as the use follows city codes.
In fact, Planned Parenthood could still open an office in Springdale, Cate said.
Planned Parenthood currently operates two clinics in Little Rock.