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“Voters tonight told politicians to stay out of women’s personal medical decisions. This election is a clear message and a warning to Congress and politicians nationwide,” says Cecile Richards

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque voters tonight rejected the first-ever municipal referendum seeking to ban abortions at 20 weeks, even for victims of rape and incest, severe fetal abnormalities and when a woman’s health is in danger. Similar to legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, if enacted, this could have banned abortion in extremely rare, but heartbreaking and tragic, situations.

With a vote scheduled for what was predicted to be an extremely low-turnout special municipal election, and a highly biased ballot title, this referendum was supposed to be a landslide victory for opponents of safe and legal abortion.  But women’s health supporters turned out in droves to reject the ban. The more Albuquerque voters learned about the real-world impact of a 20-week ban on women facing these heartbreaking circumstances, the more likely they were to oppose the ballot measure – resulting in this important win for New Mexico women.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“Voters tonight told politicians to stay out of women’s personal medical decisions. This election is a clear message and a warning to Congress and politicians nationwide:  Health decisions should be left to a woman in consultation with her family and her doctor – not politicians.”

Abortion bans like the one defeated in Albuquerque are deeply unpopular with Americans, with recent polling of voters from all major parties showing that when voters understand the real-world circumstances surrounding abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, they overwhelmingly oppose laws that would ban the procedure at that stage.  The poll also shows that the overwhelming majority of voters say this is the wrong issue for Congress and state legislators to be spending time on. 

Nearly 99 percent of abortions in the U.S. occur before 21 weeks’ gestation. When abortion later in pregnancy does happen, it is often in a situation where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available.


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