The fate of a recent initiative that would limit abortion in the city remains uncertain.
On Tuesday, Amy Bailey, the city clerk of Albuquerque, confirmed that the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance, a proposal that would restrict abortion in pregnancies beyond 20 weeks, will be presented to the City Council and might end up on the ballot in November.
According to a story by the Albuquerque Journal, Bailey and her staff confirmed that a petition to limit abortions gathered about 200 votes more than the 12,091 needed to require the City Council to act on the bill. Supporters say they gathered 27,000 signatures.
The Council can choose to pass the ordinance immediately or send it to voters. It must be sent to voters within 90 days if the Council does not pass it. Although the signatures were not verified in time for the initiative to appear on the Oct. 8 mayoral ballot, it may appear in an election Nov. 19, the provisional day for a runoff election if needed after the mayoral election, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
If the proposal ends up on the ballot and passes, women would only be able to get an abortion after 20 weeks if “reasonable medical judgment” proves that “a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself” exists, according to an Operation Rescue transcript of the ordinance.
Psychological and emotional conditions would not warrant an abortion.
Tara Shaver, a member of Project Defending Life, said she “worked together with a group of local organizations” to get signatures for the petition.
“I filed the petition and I’ve been the media spokesperson,” she said. “But in all reality, it’s been the community that’s come together from many different groups to collect the signatures and spread awareness of the atrocity that is late-term abortion in our city.”
Shaver said she feels confident that the ballot initiative will eventually be voted into law.
“We’re just looking forward to asking the city councilors to adopt the amendment and if they don’t adopt it, then it will go to the people for a vote,” she said. “And we’re extremely confident that it will pass at the city level.”
But last week, a group of pro-choice supporters gathered at Civic Plaza to protest the out-of-state pro-life “missionaries” and the recently petitioned abortion-limiting measure.
Mary Lou Singleton, a midwife who organized the rally, spoke to the crowd about the ordinance.
“If this ballot initiative passes, our city will have decided that we have the right to force these women to carry these pregnancies, which will inevitably end in heart-breaking tragedies,” she said. “And we’re telling them they have to carry these pregnancies for another five months.”
Kayla Martinez, a UNM freshman majoring in biology, said she does not think the ballot will pass in Albuquerque.
“Today I feel like people are more for abortion,” she said. “So I don’t really think it will pass.”
Martinez said despite her faith, she does not believe that laws should be made to prevent accessibility to abortion.
“I don’t think they should make laws against abortion,” she said. “It’s supposed to be our choice no matter what other people think.”