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Sometimes it Takes a Big Sign to Get a Legislator to Pay Attention

Getting the word out about legislative efforts to bring abortions onto California’s college campuses isn’t easy without media support, so Right to Life of Kern County (RTLKC) staff and volunteers took to the streets of Bakersfield to deliver the news themselves.

Their target audience? Pro-life voters and 32nd District Assemblyman Rudy Salas.

RTLKC has for the past year banged the local drum about SB 320, legislation that will force UC and CSU student health centers to provide the abortion pill as a basic health service. The bill was passed along party lines by the State Senate early this year and in mid-August will be voted on in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the last stop before an Assembly floor vote.

In May, RTLKC joined forces with Students for Life of America, hosting a No on SB 320 rally in downtown Bakersfield, across the street from Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas’ office. The rally, featuring a display of 14 toilet seats to represent 14 women who have died after using the abortion pill, was ignored by local media, but the large banner bearing an appeal for Assemblyman Salas to vote no on college campus abortions wasn’t so easily dismissed.

Inspired by the thumbs-up and honks of approval, RTLKC staff and volunteers began displaying the banner at high-profile street corners during busy drive times to pique local interest in the measure. Those opposed to on-campus abortions were encouraged to contact Mr. Salas’ local or state office and ask him to vote no on the bill if it comes before him on the Assembly floor.

Executive Director of Right to Life Kern County Marylee Shrider tries to persuade Assemblyman Rudy Salas to vote noon SB 320 in his Capitol office

“There was a lot of interest in the banner; a number of people even took cell-phone pics,” RTLKC Director Marylee Shrider said. “Assemblyman Salas reportedly wasn’t too happy about it, but he did agree to meet with us to hear our concerns about the bill.”
A Kern County delegation met with Mr. Salas in his Sacramento office on June 12, the day the bill was heard and approved in the Assembly Health Committee. His first opportunity to vote on the measure won’t come until after it passes through the Appropriations Committee, but Shrider said with such an ardent pro-choice state legislature, alerting the community and lobbying elected officials can’t wait.

“On measures this important elected officials need to hear from their constituents,” she said. “It’s only fair to let them know when they vote to approve dangerous and unnecessary bills like SB 320 it’s gonna be an issue come election day.”

Assemblyman Salas faces a serious contender for his seat in Republican Justin Mendes, a Hanford City Councilman and staunch pro-life advocate. Salas squeaked by Mendes in the June primary election with narrow lead of 252 votes.

Shrider said she’s already scheduling volunteers and street corners for banner displays should SB 320 pass through the Appropriations Committee.

Consider using this strategy to get your legislator’s attention regarding SB 320, as well as other bad bills making their way through the legislature. 




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