In what could be a new strategy for anti-choice Christian groups, Albuquerque voters are heading to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Under the new restrictions, doctors would not be able to perform so-called late-term abortions within the city limits. The measure provides exceptions for life of the mother, but it does not allow waivers in the case of rape or incest.
According to Reuters, recent opinion surveys suggested that public sentiment has swung against the initiative. But Research & Polling Inc. President Brian Sanderoff told the Albuquerque Journal that a low turnout was expected for the election.
“Other than Election Day, I think the second-most important day of this two-month campaign was last Sunday, yesterday, when many of the churches urged the faithful to vote in support of the ban,” Sanderoff said. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens on Election Day.”
The Respect Albuquerque Women campaign has released a series of videos explaining why it was important for women to retain the right to have abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“We were ready to give our two year old a brother or sister. And everything with the pregnancy went pretty well until we went for our 20 week ultrasound,” a woman named Christie explains in one video. “My baby had a hole in her diaphragm. The stomach and the intestines, which are supposed to be down in the abdomen, were up in her chest cavity. This forced her heart over into her right armpit. And it forced her trachea and esophagus out of the middle of her chest. And the most important factor was that it prevented her lungs from developing.”
“I never thought I would ever need an abortion,” Christie says. “I could carry the baby to term and watch her suffocate or I could end the pregnancy early and let her go peacefully.”
According to RH Reality Check, activist groups targeted Albuquerque because the city has one of only four clinics in the country that perform abortions later in pregnancy. And if the effort succeeds, copycat measures are expected to start showing up on the ballot in other cities across the country.
“It is a new strategy,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman pointed out to Reuters in September. “There is more than one way to close an abortion clinic.”
“If you can’t get anything done in a state legislature … you look at what is going on in a city. They say all politics is local. This is a great example of that.”
Watch this video from KOB, broadcast Nov. 18, 2013.
Watch this video from Respect Albuquerque Women.