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The Huntsville City Council approved a resolution Thursday clarifying the use of city resources related to Alabama abortion law.

Council member Frances Akridge proposed the resolution, which was amended following discussion with the police officials the day of the meeting. Though originally the resolution prohibited creating a record of or investigating pregnancy outcomes, the amended version consolidated those ideas by deferring to Alabama House Bill 314, which makes providing abortions a felony, minus few exceptions.

“Therefore, be it resolved that it is the policy of the city of Huntsville that as it relates to Alabama House Bill 314," the amended resolution read. "Municipal resources shall only be used in accordance with the provisions of the subject law and the enumerate rights and restrictions defined therein.”

Akridge said the goal of the resolution is to provide clarity and protection for doctors and women in dealing with "difficult pregnancies."

Council president pro tem Jennie Robinson questioned the need for such a clarification regarding adherence to state law.

“That’s the policy of the city anyway,” she said. “Why do we need a resolution to say that, that we’re going to do what House Bill 314 says?”

Akridge responded, “We need to make it clear that unlike other cities, maybe in Alabama, maybe across the country, who are proactively looking for — they’re turning into detectives rather than law enforcement, and we know the difference.”

Robinson then asked Akridge if there was anything Huntsville police had done to make her feel the resolution was necessary.

“We can not in good conscience say that there would never be … a squad who would go out and do things that are outside their normal work,” Akridge said.

By that logic, Robinson asked if the council would start passing similar resolutions for all future house bills.

“If we don’t have confidence in our department heads, in our police leadership to enforce state law, then we’ve got bigger problems than what we’re addressing here,” Robinson said. “So again, I question what we’re doing here, if this is good governance or good policy.”

She went on to say the clarity Akridge is trying to achieve might best be accomplished at the state level. Robinson also pointed out that a resolution doesn’t carry the weight of enforceable law.

Whether or not the “perfect vehicle,” council president John Meredith said the resolution doesn’t do any harm, and it’s something many women have asked for.

“We need to show the women in our community that we support them,” he said. “They’re asking for this; they want this reassurance.”

Akridge added that taking this “baby step” would add to the quality of life for the people of Huntsville and “enhance” its reputation and make it more attractive to people moving into the area.

Before voting on the issue, councilman Bill Kling said he spoke to law enforcement leaders who assured him nothing pertaining to what is in the resolution had ever been done nor were their plans to start.

“We do not need any type of witch-hunting mentality going on in the community against our citizens, but at the same time, I feel like there’s a hysteria that’s being directed toward the police department,” Kling said. "They’ve done nothing wrong.”

All council members except for Robinson voted in favor of the resolution.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com.

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