Nearly one hundred individuals filled the El Centro Council chambers Tuesday evening, February 17 creating standing room only. The majority came to let the council know they did not want an abortion clinic in town. Another 50 to 100 stood outside the chamber.

There is a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic being constructed on Fourth Street in El Centro just south of the Salvation Army. Many were surprised to hear this, despite the controversial nature of the facility.

Mayor Erin Silva stated it was a non-action matter and thus wondered why people had come. Those present, and the over 1500 who signed petitions against an abortion clinic in the last ten days, believed the council has far more influence on the final acceptance of the transfer agreement that Planned Parenthood is proposing. More signatures still will be presented to the El Centro Regional Hospital board.

Councilman Alex Cardenas requested that there be a combined board meeting when the hospital medical board meets, because he wanted to hear all that will be discussed.

Nicole Rothfleisch of Amaris Ministries, an adoptions and foster care facility in the Valley, shared the front page of the day’s IV Press: The Humane Society has reached a dream goal of a No-Kill facility – animals are finding permanent, loving homes, and none are being euthanized.

Rothfleisch next held up an 8×10 colored photo of her own Marley pooch, an adoptee, and followed it with two colored 8×10 photos of her daughter, adopted at age one, now about age eight with Marley.

“If we as a community are going to celebrate no-kill for our animals, how much more we should celebrate our own children, and not build across town an abortion clinic that ends their life. Babies, inside their mothers, are supposed to be in the “safest place” possible,” Rothfleisch said.

Chris Nunn, pastor at Christ Community Church, pointed out that three of the five sitting city council members voted against a hooka smoking parlor on the adverse health effects it would cause the community….

According to Nunn, it is at the discretion of the council to offer counsel, or not, to the hospital board. Why? The elected council appointed the medical trustee board, and council member Sedalia Sanders represents council on this board, Nunn said.

It was pointed out if this appointed medical board decides to ally themselves with Planned Parenthood, they will take the entire tax-paying city with them.

This alliance with the abortion clinic carries full liability for all complications resulting from abortions disasters, each one potentially costing thousands, to millions, of dollars, according to attorney Gibbs who has been in touch with the local opponents of the clinic.

“Imperial Valley votes pro-life 73% of the time. 81% of voting Latinos vote Pro-life,” reported Nunn, “Is that what you want as your legacy?  – this abortion clinic?”

State law allows for an office and even a clinic, but to include the procedure of abortion, the clinic needs a transfer agreement with the city’s hospital. Planned Parenthood is in the process of securing hospital rights for patients whose abortions necessitate emergency medical care.

Council members were given pamphlets by nurse Marty Ellett of El Centro describing the development of babies in the womb. The pamphlets shows a beating heart within 18 days of conception and brain waves not long after. At 12 weeks, all organs are present; the baby sucks its thumb, moves, and only needs time to complete growth, Ellet said.

In the state of California, abortions can be done up to 9 months, even on healthy babies. Ellett described a first-trimester abortion: “A suction catheter is inserted that is going to take apart this child, limb by limb.”

Marty pointed out that the majority of abortions are done on minorities. He said, “This will likely be, cash-paying, uninsured customers from Mexicali.” The abortions will be done, not by doctors, but midwives and nurse practioners, often with 0 to 1 year experience, all that PP requires on their own “help wanted” site.

The El Centro Hospital is already carrying a $25 million balance on indigent care. Calexico Hospital is no more, largely due to the cost of uninsured patients from across the border, Ellett reminded the board.

The first woman hesitated a moment – gathering herself to tell a heart-wrenching story in the three-minute time limit the council required. She began.

Despite her finance’s desire for the child, pressured to abort by her family, Kathy lay on the table at the abortion clinic.

“What’s that?” she inquired of a swish, swish sound. “Oh, that’s just the baby. It’s just a lump.” Kathy cried as she fell asleep under sedation. After the procedure, she was handed some instructions and told that if she bled a lot, to go her doctor.

She went to the ER. Half of a baby was still within her uterus. It had been twins. She was depressed afterward and attempted suicide three times. She closed with a plea to the council, “Whatever leverage you have to stop this clinic, use it.”

A second woman told her story briefly as well. “I had my first abortion at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Las Vegas. It was either that, or my mom ‘killing me.’ I lied about my name and age. They never checked my ID. What if anything had happened? They’d had no idea who I was.”

She continued. “Their first question was ‘How are you going to pay?’ After the abortion, despite being in pain and very groggy, I was sent out the back door, having had no recovery time.”

“I have never met a woman,” she ended saying, “who was proud of her abortion.”

Danny Ramirez of Calexico, Culture of Life coordinator for the diocese of San Diego of Imperial County in the service of families and the “tiniest, weakest, most vulnerable persons in our country” spoke next in a powerful voice.

Pointing and speaking by name to each council member, Ramirez asked him or her if they would want their  twelve-year old daughter/granddaughter, without consent, to go to this clinic for an abortion. “One in every four abortions is done in California,” Ramirez said. “Why? California is pro-abortion. 75% in the assembly, 65% in the state senate, and Gov. Brown.”

Yet in 2008, 68% of state favored Proposition 4 that parents be notified of abortions being sought by children under age 18. It was a near-win in the state with 48% for Prop 4 and 51% against. Pro-life with little funds had battled the $10-million dollar pro-abortion lobby and almost won, Ramirez said.

Imperial County had the highest percent in the state for pro-life Prop 4- that parents be notified of abortions being sought by children under age 18. “Why?” Ramirez asked. “68% of the voting Hispanics voted for the proposition. The valley is 84% Hispanic.” Then in a strong voice, Ramirez stated, “They vote ‘stupid.’ They vote pro-abortion politicians – for representatives who do not agree with their own family values.”

Caring for the homeless, the downtrodden, and the broken families, Major Jerry Esquer of the Salvation Army spoke when the last individual scheduled to speak was not present. With his voice faltering, and tears coming in the end, the Major   said, “I was raised in a dysfunctional family. I thank God my mom did not abort me.” He continued, “We are the voice of those who don’t have a voice.”

“The council has a voice because you’ve been elected,” he continued. “God help us! We will have to pay for the consequences; let the consequences be the best for the valley.”

State law allows for an office and even a clinic, but to includue the procedure of abortion, the clinic needs a transfer agreement with the city’s hospital, a copy of which can be read at the official homepage of KGBA.  El Centro Hospital is city-owned; it belongs to the people of El Centro, and used valley-wide.

There is a good possibility that the El Centro hospital board of trustees meeting scheduled Tuesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m. will be moved to El Centro City Hall, 1275 Main Street, in order to accommodate the number of people expected to attend and comment about the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.

This story comes from a Feb. 19 posting in the Desert Review.