Casper Council Decides Against Debating Pro-Life Proclamation
At the Casper City Council meeting on Tuesday, there was some discussion about putting forward a pro-life proclamation but decided against it due to the divisive nature of the abortion issue.
Before the meeting began, and at the previous council meeting on April 19, people had come up to the council to speak in opposition to the proposed abortion clinic that plans to open in town.
At that meeting and the one on Tuesday, Mayor Ray Pacheco said that he understands the concerns from citizens about the clinic, but that it is outside of the council's jurisdiction to do anything about it.
Mike Pyatt spoke to the council asking them, if they are against the clinic, to put a proclamation forward to show the community where they stand.
"We know like all other great evils such as in the past, slavery, and abortion today, they cannot be extirpated by simple legislative decree or contrivances," Pyatt said. "It'll take voices and action by the general public, the city, county commissioners, and private citizens, to make a difference. I appeal to you on the basis of your conscience and moral compass to consider perhaps a proclamation for the unborn. If you fail to speak, the silence will be deafening."
While Pacheco and councilmember Bruce Knell both spoke about their pro-life stances, Knell said that even though he's pro-life, he doesn't think it's a conversation that the council needs to have.
"If think if we want to come out publically and state where we stand, it's an emotional issue, it's not a legal issue, which is what this council generally should be dealing with," Knell said. "So I guess, as much as I'm for it and everyone knows it, I don't think it's a conversation that we as a council should have just in the event that it causes or would cause any type of separation amongst us. We have such a good working group full of different views and I think that's appropriate, I think that's fair, and so I would be against doing that, but I will do what everyone else wants to do."
Councilmember Amber Pollock said that she's against a proclamation because the council is supposed to be non-partisan, and talking about a proclamation one way or another would put that neutral nature in jeopardy.
"It's an intensely partisan issue, and politicized issue and I'm very proud to be working on a non-partisan elected body, and I think it's really important that we acknowledge the opportunity that that affords us to work really well together, to not be coming into sharp division and conflict with one another," Pollock said. "To address the parts of city business that we actually have jurisdiction over. And so to me I don't think it's appropriate because it's not an area where we have jurisdiction over. It's not an area we could have any tangible change over even if we wanted to."
Councilmembers Jai-Ayala Sutherland and Kyle Gamroth both agreed that it would be necessary to put forward a resolution on abortion because of the divisive nature of the topic.
Both Gamroth and Knell also brought up the recent leaked opinion showing that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade soon, making the discussion less relevant.