The City Council reversed its previous declaration today by a vote of 13-4. The declaration passed last week stated the city’s support for "women's reproductive rights and freedom" and defended "the right to choose a legal and safe abortion as a final but critical option for women."
The original resolution passed by a 9-8 vote, surprising sponsor Blondell Reynolds Brown who had not expected the declaration to be controversial. As previously reported by CNA, the resolution was swiftly condemned by Cardinal Justin Rigali. Other sources reported that complaints flooded into some council members' offices.
The resolution rescinding last week's proclamation was sponsored by Councilman Frank Rizzo, who said the entire episode had been an embarrassment.
"I think that we should stay away from issues like this that cause division in our city," Rizzo said.
Another council member Marian Tasco seemed confused as to how such issues should be handled calling it both a personal and a legal issue. "The issue of pro-choice or pro-life is personal. The issue of choice is something we do not deal with in city council. It's a legal issue dealt with by other forms of city government."
Councilman Tim Kenney also expressed his internal conflict saying that he personally was pro-choice, but had decided upon reflection that it was an inappropriate issue for council to wade into.
In an attempt to make peace Councilwoman Reynolds Brown said, "I've learned, as an enlightened pro-choice advocate, that there may have been other ways to make my position known," said Reynolds Brown.
Switching sides from last week were council members, Jim Kenney, Frank DiCicco, Donna Reed Miller, Daniel Savage and Wilson Goode Jr.