In a unanimous vote, the Redwood City Council on Monday supported a recommendation to send a letter to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to enact protections for people seeking care at local reproductive health facilities.
The city, in the letter, would ask the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to create a buffer zone around the Planned Parenthood at 2907 El Camino Real in unincorporated Redwood City. Similar ordinances have been adopted in cities like Walnut Creek and San Francisco.
The referral process was initiated by Mayor Giselle Hale, who first raised the idea at the special offsite meeting in February. In her request to the council, Hale referred to the increasing protests at abortion clinics across the country, the rise in states stamping down on access to abortions and the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“This is occurring at the abortion clinic that serves Redwood City residents,” Hale wrote.
All members of the council spoke during the meeting in support of the letter.
“We don’t usually weigh in on county items as a rule, but this one’s rather important,” said former mayor Diane Howard. “On the East Coast I volunteered for Planned Parenthood, and I was so grateful for the services they provided to people who didn’t have the money to get medical care. And I’d like to make sure that’s protected for anyone and everyone who needs their help.”
Council member Lissette Espinoza-Garnica described reproductive health care as “life-saving” and clarified that “it’s not just women’s issues, it’s general reproductive issues, it’s reproductive justice. And many people who seek abortions may not identify as women."
“It’s a shame that we’re still fighting the same issues that we’ve been fighting for many decades, like the obstructing of access to abortions,” said Espinoza-Garnica.
Hale asked council members to take preventative action to protect the safety of patients and health care providers.
“As other states close access to safe and legal abortion, California will become an abortion sanctuary state,” she said.
As a result of Monday’s vote, staff will prepare a letter for the council’s future consideration.