Posts Tagged ‘mass citizens for life’

After a brief recess and regular City Council meeting began. Under the rules of the City council any person can speak for up to 2 minutes on a measure.

The first speaker was Representative DiNatale who re-iterated the argument concerning both redundant services and how well Fitchburg had done without them.

At this point the officials from Planned Parenthood had already left so now a plethora of pro life speakers came to the fore.

The first was Dr. Mark Rollo:

Doctor Rollo was forceful and direct. When describing planned parenthood he bluntly declared “Their mission is killing!” He further argued that they separating children from their parents advice and fear, instead of discouraging teenage pregnancy propagates it. He declared unequivocally that if Planned Parenthood opens on main street protesters will follow and he will be leading them.

Several citizens people yielded their time to both Doctor Rollo and some of those who followed. Their second big gun was Dr. Mildred Jefferson.

With a quiet and calm demeanor she made the case that Fitchburg would be a less pleasant place with Planned parenthood. Her best argument however was the description of Planned Parenthood in terms of practices and their use of organizations that they fund to support their positions as if they were independent.

The third big gun was developer Roderick P. Murphy from the group problem pregnancy. His argument was that planned parenthood would retard development in Fitchburg, both he and Dr. Jefferson had the disadvantage of making the case as non residents.

After this several citizens came up with various arguments primarily concerning the wrongness of abortion, the origins of planned parenthood and how all of this makes Fitchburg a less desirable place to live. Unfortunately a lot of the presentations were, in my opinion and judging from the reactions of counselors, less than effective. One particular example being Kylie Gordon a 19 year old girl who was passionate in her attacks on planned parenthood but disorganized in her presentation.

Two speakers spoke up for planned parenthood. A teacher from Fitchburg state suggested than their presence might help in terms of counseling for college students in weak or potentially harmful relationships reflecting on the Allison Myrick case, it was a point that hadn’t been considered. A Worcester Fitchburg podcaster (Chris’ site is here). came up next vowing that he and members of his group ( Greater Worcester Humanists) would be escorting clients in through any protests held.

Christine Hanley of Mass. Citizens for Life made the final “official” case. Her presentation while strong factually was more about the general faults of Planned Parenthood and less about why they are a bad fit for Fitchburg.

The final speaker was, well me. After Ms Hanley spoke I approached the chair removing my “blogging” hat to speak as a lifelong Fitchburg resident. I pointed out that Ms Luby of Planned Parenthood didn’t deny the question of chemical abortion. I pointed out that City Solicitor, Michael Ciota argument concerning constitutionally of zoning ordinances didn’t hold water as Leominster had enacted such ordinances almost 30 years ago and was unchallenged (explaining why Fitchburg has been the magnet of social services rather than Leominster). I argued that the reason Planned Parenthood wanted main street was to access students of Arthur J. Longsjo middle school . I referenced the both the Washington Post abstinence story and the argument of my own post concerning pill resales. I’ll let others decide how effective I was, but when I was done Counselor Marcus DiNatale questioned the solicitor concerning Leominster’s laws, and Mr. Costa plead ignorance of them.

For a brief time other business came up and the Mayor briefly turned up for that but she was not to be seen when when the Rosemary Reynolds brought up her two zoning resolutions. As they were late resolutions a vote to suspend the rules would be necessary for them to be considered. That vote failed 10-1 thus they have been added to the agenda of the next meeting on the 16th.

And so around 11:00 p.m. things finally closed. It’s fair to say that Planned Parenthood had won the argument this day as the Germans did at Kasserine but the final result of the campaign remains to be seen.

Update: Per Chris’ comment I corrected his location and added a link to his group both in his comment and on this page.

I arrived at the City Hall at 5:30 p.m. one hour before the scheduled meeting.

Planned parenthood was there early too, these people were pros and had gone though this more than once before:

This not to say that Planned Parenthood didn’t have its supporters among the population. I spotted an old friend of mine with them and we chatted for a while. A local woman by the name of Sue Longey gave a strong defense of their position as well.

The Pro choice people came later and congregated between the inner and outer doors, they didn’t really want to talk as they were busy planning strategy.

The Chamber stood empty as the hour approached

Once the Planned Parenthood people saw I was a blogger everything became “no comment”, the city counselors didn’t want to say anything before the meetings either. Everyone was holding their cards very close to the vest. This is a close up of the Mayor’s spot it was empty and would stay empty as long as this subject was on the table.

The Mayor WAS in the building however and as this shot shows whatever our political disagreements, she has excellent taste in Pizza:

But the closest you would find her near this issue was her photo on the wall with the past mayors.

There was one slightly amusing false alarm when we were let into the room before they were ready, both sides filed in and were asked to file out.

One interesting addition was the police force, two uniformed officers were present. Nobody from the FATV people to anyone else ever remembered a meeting where police had to be present. I asked the officers if they ever remembered such a meeting but they declined comment, I then asked if they personally ever were assigned to a city counsel meeting but they declined comment again.

Both sides seemed a little worried hoping they would not be needed, but everyone forgot their worry once the meeting began.

(continued tomorrow when I’ve had some sleep.)