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.