Temecula City Council member proposes citywide ban on abortions

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Friday, September 16, 2022
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The city of Temecula in southwest Riverside county is known for tourism. From its sprawling vineyards, to casino gaming to hot-air balloon rides. But it soon could become the first city in California to attempt to ban abortions

TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Temecula in southwest Riverside county is known for tourism. From its sprawling vineyards, to casino gaming to hot-air balloon rides.

But it soon could become the first city in California to attempt to ban abortions, if one Temecula City Council member gets her way.

"I know there are some who would question whether protecting our unborn is a state matter or a city issue," said city councilperson Jessica Alexander at Tuesday's council meeting. "This is our city, and what happens in our city is our responsibility."

Alexander is sponsoring a resolution that would make the city was she calls a sanctuary for the unborn.

"Are we willing to stand up and fight for every resident including the unborn babies who are voiceless? Let us be the first city in California to make a stand. Let's mark our city as a sanctuary city for Temecula's unborn."

Temecula isn't the first California city to attempt such a ban. The city of San Clemente was considering something similar, but the city council eventually voted to remove the matter from any further consideration.

However, even if Temecula were to approve such a resolution, some legal experts suggest it could be struck down because state law already exists that declares that women have a "fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose to obtain an abortion prior to viability of the fetus...."

"I think this would end up in court very quickly, even before this city tries to enforce a law," said Professor Jessica Levinson, who teaches constitutional law at Loyola Law School. "Once it's on the books I think the attorney general's office will say here is your complaint, you cannot pass this law."

Levinson said if voters in November approve Proposition One, known as the Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment, it would only strengthen abortion rights in California. However, if the U.S. Congress were to ever pass a federal ban on abortion, any laws passed in the state of California to protect abortion would likely be nullified.

"We know what happens when there's a conflict between federal law and state law. If the federal law is constitutional, and (the laws are) clearly in conflict, the federal law wins."

The topic is scheduled to be up for discussion at Temecula's next City Council meeting on Sept. 27.