Were Albuquerque Voters Just Confused When They Shot Down 20-Week Abortion Ban?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Supporters of the 20-week abortion ban in Albuquerque say they believe many people meant to vote in favor of the ban, but were confused by the wording on the ballot.

The Tuesday vote showed 55 percent were against the ordinance, which would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life is at risk. The ordinance makes no execpetion for cases on incest, rape or fetal viability.

Currently only two clinics in New Mexico offer the late-term procedure, both located in Albuquerque.

The senior policy advisor for the ABQ Voters Against Late Term Abortion Ban campaign, Cheryl Sullenger, told LifeNews.com that pro-life voters thought they were voting against abortion, when they were actually voting against the abortion ban.

“We understand that some supporters of the ordinance actually voted against it because they thought they were voting against abortion. That is an issue that can be easily corrected next time around,” said Sullenger.

Early voter Fred Tidwell told the Albuquerque Journal that he wasn’t sure was the ordinance was meant to do.

“I don’t even know what we’re voting on,” he said.

City Clerk Amy Bailey said her office fielding an “unbelievable” number of calls asking what the ordinance was, but the wording of the ballot was City Council-approved.

‘They want us to interpret the ballot for them and tell them how to vote, and we just can’t do that,” Bailey told the Albuquerque Journal.

“Pro-life supporters may have suffered a political loss, but we are far from defeated," Sullenger said.

She promised that anti-abortion activists will get the proposed ban on another ballot in a future election.

“Now the local activists in Albuquerque have been seasoned and things just might turn out differently if we can get another bite of this apple,” she said.

“We’ll be back,” she said. “It is clear that the people are uncomfortable with late-term abortions and would like to see them end. We learned a lot from this campaign, and we look forward to another try that will better reflect the true feeling of the voters on this subject.”

Thirteen other states have similar “fetal pain” laws, based on the belief that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.

In June, the House of Representatives passed a similar bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would make abortion after 20 weeks a federal crime.

“Despite being outspent four to one, pro-life grassroots activists were able to educate thousands of citizens about fetal pain and the reality of late abortion,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony List, a non-profit seeking to elimination abortion in the U.S.

“Polls show Americans are united in opposing this brutal practice,” she added.

Sources: Albuquerque Journal, Politico, LifeNews.com