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Conn. Officials Shelve Abortion Proposal

February 23, 2005

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) _ Officials declined Tuesday to take action on a proposal to declare the city an abortion-free zone, a measure that would have banned the procedure in Waterbury.

Forty demonstrators in support of the proposal attended a Board of Aldermen meeting, where independent Alderman Frank Caiazzo proposed the measure _ though it was considered unlikely to pass.

Instead, aldermen voted 9-6 to place the proposal ``on file,″ essentially killing it for now. The action means the bill could be brought up again later.

The resolution failed to garner support from Caiazzo’s Democratic colleagues. They say they have more pressing concerns in a city with a $400 million pension fund deficit and a multimillion dollar gap in next year’s budget.

``Alderman Caiazzo has the best intentions and I wouldn’t call him a right-wing extremist or a single-issue type person, but this is just not an issue our board has jurisdiction over regardless of personal feelings,″ said J. Paul Vance Jr., a Democrat and the Board of Aldermen president.

The proposed law would have had little practical effect because of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that made abortion legal.

Caiazzo proposed the resolution at the suggestion of Joe Zdonczyk, who heads a minor political party formed to oppose abortion. Zdonczyk maintained the ban was important, even if it would be trumped by Roe v. Wade.

``If we cast this in a legal sense, we miss the point, because abortion is a moral issue,″ he said. ``Waterbury is an area that would choose to provide a safe haven for the unborn child.″

Resident Christine Ruman called it ``unjust and indefensible ... For a man to feel entitled to propose policy that will never affect his body is absurd.″

At a rally before the meeting, supporters formed a semicircle on the terrace outside City Hall, kneeling on the cold brick and marble as they prayed the rosary. The rally was organized by the Connecticut Right to Life Corp.

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