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 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. 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 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 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 prior to Nov. 15. Cast your in-person absentee ballot at either the City Clerk's Office or the City of Albuquerque Records Center.

Shops @ 98th and Central, 120 98th Street A5 NW

Glenwood Village Shopping Center A1-A2, 12611 Montgomery NE

Don Newton-Taylor Ranch Community Center, 4900 Kachina NW

Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, 501 Elizabeth SE

Daskalos Plaza, 5339 Menaul NE

West Mesa Community Center, 5500 Glenrio NW

Cesar Chavez Community Center, 7505 Kathryn SE

North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, 7521 Carmel NE

Montgomery Crossing Shopping Center, 8510 Montgomery NE

Venture Commerce, 9674-3 Eagle Ranch NW

Office of the City Clerk, 600 Second Street NW

City of Albuquerque Records Center, 604 Menaul NW


Tomorrow's Events

Stories in the Sky: Earth Day at Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

Stories, music, movement and art for the youngest explorers. Ages 0-6, adult companions welcome.

Startup School by Y Combinator at Fat Pipe ABQ

Hubert Humphrey Elementary PTA Fundraiser Night at Flying Star Café

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