Kirtland's abortion resolution references God, states life begins at conception

Kirtland's resolution comes about a month after a similar measure failed in Farmington

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

KIRTLAND — Despite the fact that abortion is not offered anywhere in Kirtland, the Town Council has passed a resolution expressing opposition to laws that would make it easier for women to access abortion services.

Following the Nov. 12 Town Council meeting, Mayor Mark Duncan acknowledged that the resolution is symbolic. But, Duncan said, proposed legislation and the governor’s stance favoring abortion prompted him to add the resolution to the Town Council agenda.

“I need to be on the right side,” he said. “And every unborn child has the right to be born.”

As in other parts of the state that have passed similar resolutions, the Kirtland resolution is titled "A Resolution In Support of the Unborn."

Lourdes Salazar participates in the first day of the 40 Days for Life protests in front of Planned Parenthood of Farmington. Her sign translates to "pray for the end of abortion."

Emery asks for resolution to be removed from the agenda

The resolution passed on a 2-0 vote, with Councilor Pete Emery abstaining. Emery had previously asked for the resolution to be removed from the agenda, citing the Farmington City Council’s decision in early October to remove a similar resolution.

More:Farmington City Council votes 3-2 to withdraw resolution opposing abortion

Participants in the Tax Day Rally protested abortion, Monday, April 15, 2019, in Farmington.

“Pro-life, pro-choice is the number one hot topic issue in the nation and probably will be forever,” he said when he asked to have it removed from the agenda.

He added that he does not think municipal governments should be weighing in on the topic. Emery said the municipal government’s job is to provide infrastructure and promote economic development.

Pete Emery

When it came time to vote, Emery said, “I don’t want to legitimize what I feel is a political statement with my vote.”

Councilors Jason Heslop and Tom Wethington voted in favor of the resolution while Councilor Larry Hathaway was absent.

“I think that we have a responsibility to take care of those who can’t speak for themselves,” Heslop said.

Wethington said he initially had mixed feelings about the resolution, but supported it after he read through it.

Duncan based the resolution on one passed by Roswell City Council

The resolution was a modified version of a resolution passed by Roswell City Council earlier this year. Duncan said he had requested a copy of the resolution drafted by the City of Farmington that ultimately was pulled from the Farmington City Council agenda, however Farmington did not provide a copy.

The resolution starts by quoting the Declaration of Independence and cites an abstract published in March 2017 by the American College of Pediatricians stating that life begins at conception. It further states that “each and every innocent human life is unique and precious to God” and that innocent human life must be protected and preserved.”

Kirtland Mayor Mark Duncan asked for a resolution opposing abortion to be placed on the Town Council agenda for Nov. 12. The resolution passed on a 2-0 vote.

The resolution states that the Town Council is opposed to any “diminution by the New Mexico Legislature of the limitations on abortion” and that healthcare providers have the right to object on moral grounds to performing abortions.

Finally, the resolution states the Town Council supports adoptions as an alternative to abortion.

During the debate, Duncan acknowledged that the subject is divisive.

“I’m not worried about what Santa Fe thinks,” he said. “I’m not worried about what Washington (D.C.) thinks. I’m worried about what God thinks.”

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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