Voters in Albuquerque defeated a historic ballot measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, dealing the anti-abortion movement a blow.
Two hours after the polls closed, with nearly half of precincts reporting, local media called the race a defeat for the ban, 55 to 45, and that number held stead. About a quarter of Albuquerque’s registered voters, 87,296 in total, voted in the special election, more than voted in the regular election for mayor earlier this month.
“Today Albuquerque voters respected women—and sent a clear message here and across the country that voters reject callous attempts to take away complex, personal decisions from women, their families, and their faith,” said Adriann Barboa, Respect ABQ Women Steering Committee and Field Director for Strong Families New Mexico. “We won in part because of the strong, diverse local organizations that have pulled together, year after year, to ensure justice for every New Mexico family. “
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that states–let alone cities–cannot ban abortion before viability, and 20- week bans premised on disproved notions of “fetal pain” draw the line several weeks before viability. Albuquerque’s proposed ban was also intended to close a clinic where two of the four doctors who openly perform third-trimester abortions work. Supporters also hoped to create a popular groundswell against later abortion by passing a municipal ban in a blue state, echoing the state-wide pre-viability bans passed in thirteen other states.