Standing in front of a Planned Parenthood office, Corona City Council candidate and pastor Shawn Kelly delivers a blunt message to voters: “(a) vote for me would stop them from coming into our city.”
Kelly posted the 44-second video — titled “Help keep them out of our town” — to his Facebook page last month, the latest example of religious and national political issues entering the race for three seats on the dais at City Hall.
Jeremy Mercer, another of three pastors running in Corona’s Tuesday, Nov. 6, election, also posted a campaign video — shot at a pro-life walk and featuring him saying “life is an issue in this city” and “we value life.”
But some say the issue has nothing to do with leading Corona. An expert said it’s unusual for abortion to emerge as a campaign issue in California. And the city manager said elected council members would likely have little to no input to prevent Planned Parenthood or a clinic performing abortions from entering the city.
Kelly, whose video received 40 shares and more than 6,000 views as of Thursday, Nov. 1, is running in District 1 against two opponents, including Jacque Casillas, a community and government relations manager with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, a Planned Parenthood official said.
On Oct. 16, Mercer posted a video shot at the Corona Life Services’ annual Walk for Life event.
“We value life at all levels, especially the pre-born,” Mercer said in the Facebook video. “And so as a council member, I’m a pro-life person. I think that shapes your world view and you fight for people. You fight for life.”
In a Thursday, Nov. 1, interview, Mercer said abortion and pro-life issues are relevant to the council election because Casillas is running.
“It’s not been the thrust of my campaign, but at the same time, it’s not something I have ignored either,” Mercer said.
Buzz Brown, executive director of Corona Life Services, said “it’s good that the issue is being talked about.”
Mercer said he believes Planned Parenthood wants to expand into Corona.
“I would just do everything that I can to try and hinder them to stop them from coming into the city,” Mercer said.
The campaign videos were not the first time abortion has been discussed during the race.
In August, Kelly, Mercer and another council candidate Doug Husen, who’s also a pastor, signed a statement addressed to Trevor Walsh, president of the Corona Firefighters Association, that chastised the union for endorsing Casillas.
“Corona is a Pro-life community that stands for the unborn,” their statement read. “We are saddened to hear that the Association which is dedicated to saving lives is endorsing someone who works to take life away.”
Full story at The Press-Enterprise.