Breaking Good: Albuquerque Voters Reject Ban on Late-Term Abortion

The proposal was the first of its kind in the nation to attempt to ban abortions in a municipality.

Voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico have defeated an anti-abortion referendum this week, which sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, NY Times reported.

The referendum, which was marked by record turnout and graphic tactics on both sides, was nevertheless handily defeated, 55 percent to 45 percent. 

The proposal is the first attempt at implementing restrictions on abortions at the city level. These battles have mostly fought at the state level.

Anti-abortion activists had been forceful in an attempt to reignite the national debate about women’s reproductive health rights in New Mexico, through an emotional campaign which aimed at banning late abortions even in the case of rape and incest and included vivid pictures of abortion victims and one protest comparing abortion to the Holocaust.

Pro-abortion groups, who also campaigned hard against the ban, were celebrating the victory:

"Today, Albuquerque voters have rejected a measure that would have compromised women's health and safety and stripped them of their ability to make complicated, personal, and often very difficult medical decisions," said Nancy Northup, CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, Huff Post reported

Moreover, Sam Bregman, chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party, said in an interview that it was a great win against the conservative GOP.

“This was a clear counterpunch to the Republicans and right-wingers who came from out of state to push their agenda on us,” he said.

Yet, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, a conservative religious group, told CNN that despite the defeat, the battle was far from over:

"Pro-lifers in Albuquerque and elsewhere should not feel discouraged about the defeat of the effort…It is a brilliant strategy and we will see to it that this effort is introduced in other cities and states,” he said.

The defeat comes on the same day as the U.S Supreme Court’s decision to continue to allow Texas to enforce abortion restrictions that opponents say has led to the closure of more than a third of the state’s clinics.

The court’s conservative majority rejected the argument by Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics that  the preliminary decision in a lower court, which requires doctors to get admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they provide abortion services, should be overturned.



Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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