Today, Albuquerque, N.M., is voting on whether it will become the first city to ban late-term abortions.
The referendum, created by public petition, would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The law continues the national debate on the issue initiated by the grisly murders of Kermit Gosnell.
Affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have poured money into the campaign opposing the ban. On the other side, funding in favor has come from the Susan B. Anthony List and others.
If the referendum passes, I foresee a substantial challenge with the wording of the bill. As the act was written by advocates rather than city attorneys or the city council, the language “has drawn criticism from some voters, who describe it as odd and confusing,” as the Albuquerque Journal reports.
The bill allows exceptions for the life of the mother.
Since the arrest of Gosnell in Pennsylvania, a number of states have made moves to ban late-term abortion. According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, 17 states currently ban abortion after a certain number of weeks; nine of these ban abortion after 20 weeks.
As New Mexico is a blue southwestern state, having voted for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, the bill, if passed in the state’s capital, may signal an evolving attitude towards abortion nationwide.