Health & Human Services

In a Nation's First, Albuquerque Voters Consider Banning Late-Term Abortion

November 19, 2013

Three years ago, anti-abortion “missionaries” Tara and Bud Shaver left Operation Rescue’s base in Kansas with one target: a clinic that abortion opponents say has turned this southwestern city into the late-term abortion capital of America.

But after a loss at the medical board and making little headway in the Democrat-controlled Legislature, their group, Project Defending Life, gathered enough signatures to place a late-term abortion ban on the municipal ballot.

It is believed to be the first such referendum of its kind in the country and is being watched as a possible new front for activism in the abortion wars that have typically been waged at the federal and state levels.

On Tuesday, Albuquerque voters will decide whether to ban abortions after 20 weeks following an emotional and graphic campaign.

There were protests by “abortion holocaust” survivors at the city’s holocaust museum and a truck with pictures of aborted fetuses with torn off limbs that was used as a rolling billboard outside early polling places. Hundreds of thousands of dollars on television and radio ads have also brought out more early voters as the recent mayoral elections.

One man yelling “abortion” was dragged away by a group of veterans after interrupting Gov. Susana Martinez’s speech Monday at the city’s Veterans War Memorial.

The outcome is anyone’s guess in a state where abortion has traditionally been a non-issue.

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