Where does San Mateo City Council Candidate Rod Linhares stand on abortion? It isn’t fully clear, but his answers to questions about the issue, including whether he supports Proposition 1, is drawing criticism from pro-choice advocates.
Proposition 1 would codify reproductive rights in the California State Constitution in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning all federal abortion rights and remanding the decision to the states.
Councilwoman Amourence Lee emailed each of the candidates asking them to declare their stances on abortion and Proposition 1. Of the seven candidates running for Council, Linhares was the only candidate to offer no response, even after multiple attempts to follow up. Their responses were subsequently published to the Councilmember’s Facebook page.
In a written response to Climate Magazine’s request for clarification on his position on Proposition 1, Linhares stated, “I support our City Council’s decision to establish a 100-foot buffer zone around our Planned Parenthood Clinic to help ensure access, safety, and provide peace of mind. In addition, I support enforcement of all the laws of the state of California, including women’s reproductive rights.”
He declined to answer whether he would support Proposition 1.
The lack of a clear response has drawn criticism from pro-choice advocates who hope to strengthen women’s reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to strike down federal protection for abortions.
Dr. Jenn Conti, an Ob/Gyn at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and a pro-choice advocate Tweeted, “Sorry, Rod Linhares, voters in the Bay Area require this crucial information. You can’t sit this one out.” In a separate Tweet, she called on Linhares’s endorsers to withdraw their support for “refusing to protect abortion rights.”
As a doctor who provides all reproductive healthcare to my community, I’m calling on @DianePapan @SenJoshBecker & others to pull their endorsements for Rod Linhares- a candidate who refuses to protect abortion rights in CA. pic.twitter.com/l2iVDOQ67R
— Dr. Jenn Conti (@doctorjenn) September 7, 2022
Lee also pushed back on Linhares’ response in an interview with Climate Magazine, stating, “When asked three times, candidate Mr. Linhares would not respond to a simple yes or no if he supports Proposition 1. Now, he says he doesn’t know, he’s not sure. Can voters entrust the protection of our basic rights to someone who doesn’t have a position on the legal right to abortion? How about gay marriage and LGBTQ+ adoption?”
Critics further question whether his position as Director of Development for the San Francisco Archdiocese would affect his abortion stance. Linhares has been employed at the San Francisco Archdiocese for the past five years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Led by the controversial Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the Archdiocese has been a leading regional voice for restricting access to abortions, among other conservative causes. According to a letter from Cordileone, “The California bishops have made defeating Prop 1 our number one priority for this year.” Cordileone also sparked outrage when he denied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a devout Catholic, the sacrament of Holy Communion over her vow to protect reproductive rights.
Linhares said his service on council would not be affected by his day job. “My work for the Archdiocese is separate from my community service, and my beliefs are my own.”
Some critics remain unconvinced. “How can voters believe that he doesn’t have a position on Prop 1, when the employer he is tasked with financing has made it their number one goal to defeat Prop 1?,” asked Lee.