Senator Lindsey Graham may have introduced a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks in every state with extremely limited exceptions, but opponents of women’s health are taking a different tactic in New Mexico, trying to impose a city-wide ban in Albuquerque.
It is the first-ever popular referendum before voters, seeking a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, and it’s incredibly unpopular. People from Albuquerque believe personal medical decisions should remain in the hands of New Mexican woman, with their faith and their families—they shouldn’t let others try to interfere in the private doctor-patient relationship.
The reality is nearly 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks, but when they do happen, it’s often in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances, including serious risks to a woman’s health and fetal anomalies. In these situations, New Mexico women need every option available to them—and the government should have no place in these medical decisions.
Not only is this ban dangerous (could ban abortion even if a woman’s life is in danger), but it’s unconstitutional. In a letter to a city council member, the New Mexico Attorney General stated that the 20 week ban is “unconstitutional and unenforceable” citing the fact that recent court actions have struck down similar measures in other states. Furthermore, he hit the nail on the head when he said, “Voters have the right to know and decide whether they want to bear the protracted expense of litigation over a measure that is unconstitutional and unenforceable.” In addition to the estimated $600,000 this special election is estimated to cost, if it were to pass, the city would likely have to defend the measure in court, incurring large legal fees to defend what many have articulated as an unconstitutional law.
On November 19, Albuquerque needs to vote against the deceptive ballot measure that would force government interference in a woman’s personal and private medical decisions.