‹‹ V.22 No.44 | October 31 - November 6, 2013
Late-term Abortion Ban Voting Starts Now
Junk science-based ordinance gets its weeks in court of public opinion
Compfight cc via The Bike Fed
Although New Mexico Attorney General Gary King issued an informal opinion declaring this first-of-its-kind municipal abortion ban unconstitutional
, proponents gathered enough signatures to force the inclusion of the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance
" on a special election ballot. The title of the ordinance originates from a heavily discredited
piece of research that concluded that fetuses can feel pain beginning at 20 weeks of gestation; according to the authors of “Fetal Pain: A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence
”—the most comprehensive review of fetal pain research published to date, in The Journal of The American Medical Association
—“Pain is an emotional and psychological experience that requires conscious recognition of a noxious stimulus. Consequently, the capacity for conscious perception of pain can arise only after thalamocortical pathways begin to function, which may occur in the third trimester around 29 to 30 weeks’ gestational age, based on the limited data available.” This proposed law would make it illegal to perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in Albuquerque, and it includes no exceptions for cases of incest or rape.
As it is widely agreed that because such a ban would be unenforceable—as it flies in the face of both state and federal law—the object of right-to-lifers may be to appeal the issue through the courts in a challenge of Roe v. Wade.
As it is widely agreed that because such a ban would be unenforceable—as it flies in the face of both state and federal law—the object of right-to-lifers may be to appeal the issue through the courts in a challenge of Roe v. Wade. In reality, only about 1.4 percent of abortions are performed in the the third trimester, and the circumstances often involve rape or the discovery of a deformity or disability that may not allow either the child or mother to survive. Albuquerque is now one of only three places in the country where a woman can access an abortion in the later stages of a pregnancy. Anti-abortion groups have declared Albuquerque “ground zero” in the abortion debate and have called the city the nation’s “late-term abortion capital.”
As has been widely reported, much of the impetus behind the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance” came from national anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, who orchestrated a campaign against local clinic Southwestern Women's Options and doctors who perform late-term medical terminations there. Anti-abortion activists from all over the country descended on Albuquerque to drum up signatures requiring the City Council to include the late-term abortion ban on either a special election or mail-in ballot. Owing to a runoff in the District 7 Council election on Nov. 19, the measure is included in this special election.
Election day for the late-term abortion ban is Nov. 19. This is an important decision for voters, and as usual, there is no need to wait for election day to voice your opinion. Absentee voting began Oct. 25, and early voting begins Oct. 30. Until Friday, Nov. 15, you may cast your early vote at the following 12 locations. Polls are open from 9am to 6pm, Monday through Friday. To download an absentee ballot, visit bit.ly/abvoteabq prior to Nov. 15. Cast your in-person absentee ballot at either the City Clerk's Office or the City of Albuquerque Records Center.
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