The Red Bank council’s rubber-stamping of some two dozen requests for public events was interrupted Monday night when Councilman Ed Zipprich raised security issues in connection with a planned anti-abortion march scheduled for next month.
Invoking the recent shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and a push by New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith to have the federal government redefine rape in an effort to limit access to abortions, Zipprich expressed concern that the march might attract someone bent on violence.
The event request, filed by the Diocese of Trenton, calls for a march from St. Anthony of Padua Church on Bridge Avenue through the center of Red Bank and south to the Planned Parenthood clinic, which is on the Shrewsbury side of Newman Springs Road. The council agenda described the event as an “annual march.”
“In light of what happened to Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, we need to pay attention to a matter of public safety,” Zipprich said, “especially since Congressman Smith has offered a bill to redefine rape.”
“Many women’s organizations are sensitive to this,” Zipprich said.
Other members of the council said the event would have to pass muster for security and other concerns with police Chief Steve McCarthy, and saw no problem with allowing it to proceed.
On the voice vote, Zipprich abstained. Afterward, he declined to say why.
The diocesan website calls the event the “Red Bank Witness for Life” and refers to a mass, procession and other events, but says nothing about a gathering at or near the clinic.