Cole proposes sanctuary for life resolution

Santa Rosa County could become a sanctuary for life and pre-born children, openly taking a stance opposing abortion.

Commissioner Bob Cole has proposed a resolution declaring the county a sanctuary due to current political climate.

“I just think with everything the president has been doing and what’s going on in the country it was time to draw a line in the sand,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

The proposed resolution reads “resolution of the Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners, declaring Santa Rosa County, Florida to be a sanctuary for life and urging the citizens of the Santa Rosa County to promote and defend the inalienable right to life and the inherent dignity of all human beings, including the pre-born, from conception or fertilization through all stages of development.”

The resolution then states Santa Rosa County “recognizes and declares the full humanity of the preborn child and declares Santa Rosa County to be a sanctuary for the preborn where the dignity of every human being will be defended and promoted from conception or fertilization through all stages of development.”

The resolution also calls for a public forum on the matter and for the county to protect pre-born children through any legal means possible.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, abortions are allowed under the U.S. Constitution, though states each have their own unique rules and laws.

There has been a movement across the country to pass laws known as “heartbeat bills” that make abortions illegal after a heartbeat is detectable. The stated goal by many of these lawmakers has been to challenge the Roe v. Wade ruling in court in hopes of overturning the law.

A similar bill was proposed by Rep. Mike Hill in Florida, but the measure failed last session.

Cole pointed out there is an emphasis on protecting animals from abuse and neglect, but a fetus does not have the same level of protection. He said life begins at conception, and the county should make their stance on that clear.

“I think it is just expressing the feelings that we have in Santa Rosa County. I would be surprised if that was not the case,” he said.

A similar resolution was passed in December 2019 to declare Santa Rosa a Second Amendment Sanctuary at the urging of Commissioner Sam Parker. Similar resolutions were passed by dozens of counties throughout the state in 2019 and 2020.

Cole said he hopes this resolution gains the same momentum with other counties in Florida.

The resolution has been proposed for the Feb. 10 board agenda but is currently under legal review by the county attorney. Commissioners could vote on the issue Feb. 13.

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