ABQ may see late-term abortion ban on ballot

Posted at: 07/26/2013 6:13 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Anti-abortion activists say they have more than enough signatures to put a ban on late-term abortions on the city of Albuquerque ballot.

Project Defending Life says it has about 27,000 signatures on their petition to put the ban up for a vote. The group was required to get 15,000 signatures from voters by July 25.

New Mexico is one of the few states with no restrictions on abortions, and activist Tara Shaver said Albuquerque is coming to be known as the “late term abortion capital of the nation.”

Across New Mexico, doctors can legally terminate a pregnancy, even into the third trimester.

Shaver is trying to change that by ending abortions after the 20th week in pregnancy.

"We obtained almost 27,000 signatures in less than 30 days. That's completely unprecedented,” Shaver said.

But if Albuquerque voters pass abortion restrictions in Albuquerque only, laws in the city would differ than those across the state.

"This group's ultimate purpose is to restrict abortions in their entirety. This particular ban as it stands would not be constitutional in New Mexico and it wouldn't be constitutional under our federal constitution." said Laura Schauer Ives, legal director for the ACLU of New Mexico.

If voters approve the ban, the ACLU pledges to challenge it.      

But Shaver is prepared for a legal battle, and says the fight is for women’s health.

"The city of Albuquerque can enact this ordinance.  Yes, we know this will likely be challenged, but we will defend it because we do care about these women and their children,” she said.

The Albuquerque city clerk is counting petition signatures. If there are enough valid signatures, the petition goes to the city council to place on the next ballot--which is in October.