Home / National News / On the Ballot: 20-Week Abortion Ban in Albuquerque


(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) — Voters in Albuquerque, N.M., will cast ballots Tuesday on a 20-week abortion ban.

If passed, it would be the first municipal-level ban on abortions, according to the anti-abortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List, which has spent $100,000 running TV ads in support of the measure.

The Albuquerque City Council voted 5-4 in September to put the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Ordinance” on Tuesday’s ballot, which will coincide with a city councilor runoff election.

A total of 12 states now ban abortions at 20 weeks or fewer, after state-level abortion bans swept through conservative and purple states in recent years, enabled by GOP gains in state legislatures in 2010 and 2012. In each case, bans were passed by state legislatures—not as ballot initiatives.

Nebraska enacted the first 20-week abortion ban in 2010. Laws in Arizona, Idaho, and Georgia have been blocked by court cases; Arkansas’ 12-week ban and North Dakota’s 8-week ban are on hold pending the outcome of federal court cases.

If Albuquerque’s measure passes, it will likely be challenged by pro-abortion-rights advocates.

Under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, abortions are legal until a fetus reaches “viability”—the point at which it could survive outside its mother’s body—usually between 24 and 28 weeks. The 12 state bans all run directly counter to the Supreme Court’s ruling, and abortion opponents have said their ultimate goal is to overturn the Roe decision.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) this month introduced a federal 20-week abortion ban in the U.S. Senate.

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