Albuquerque, NM — In what was expected to be a simple formality, the Albuquerque City Council narrowly approved a resolution placing a proposed late-term abortion ban ordinance on the city-wide ballot on November 19 after a contentious debate.
Pro-life groups had collected nearly 27,000 signatures on a legislative initiative petition in just 20 days to put the ordinance up for a vote. The required signatures were certified, triggering an election under the City Charter. The City Council was then legally required under the Charter to schedule an election date.
However, four of the nine Councilors argued that they should be allowed to circumvent the law.
“Every court that’s reviewed this type of law has decided it’s unconstitutional,” said Councilor Roxanna Meyers, a Republican. “I think it would be irresponsible of us to move forward.”
However, Myers statement didn’t accurately reflect the facts. Only one lower court in Arizona out of 11 states that have passed a similar abortion ban has found the law unconstitutional. That decision is on appeal and is far from the final word.
Council President Dan Lewis explained that the council had a legal duty under the City Charter to set an election date and format no matter what their personal opinions on the ordinance might be.
“We’re following the (City) Charter,” said Lewis. “It’s not really our purview . . . to decide whether this is constitutional or not.”
The resolution to place the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance on the November 19 ballot was finally approved with a 5-4 vote. If the October mayoral race goes to a run-off election, voters will go to the polls. If there is no run-off election needed, voters will be asked to cast mail-in ballots.
“The will of the people has prevailed tonight and we are excited to move forward to ensure that women and their babies are protected from perilous late term abortions. We are confident moving forward that Albuquerque residents don’t want their city to be known for being the ‘go to’ place for late term abortions. Albuquerque is one step closer to seeing this come to an end,” stated Tara Shaver of Project Defending Life, who also serves as spokesperson for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance effort.
On September 9th, the Albuquerque Journal published a poll indicating that 54% of Albuquerque residents support the ban, which aligns pretty closely with national polls regarding late term abortion restrictions.
Operation Rescue has worked with Project Defending Life to uncover late-term abortion dangers at Southwestern Women’s Options, the largest free-standing late-term abortion clinic in the country, including over a dozen life-threatening medical emergencies there in the span of just a few months.
The City Councilors who voted against the resolution to ensure that the ordinance be placed on an election ballot were, Trudy Jones (R), Isaac Benton (D), Roxanne Myers (R) and Rey Garduno (D).