A former abortionist came to Albuquerque Friday night to talk about the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance.

Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist who practices gynecology in Las Cruces, encouraged anti-abortion activists to campaign in favor of the initiative at Glory Fellowship Hall.

Voters will decide on the law in the city’s runoff elections on Nov. 19. The ordinance would ban abortions after 20 weeks, except for circumstances in which the woman’s “life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury” that results from the pregnancy, according to the ordinance.

Levatino began his speech by stressing that this ordinance would be the first of its kind to be approved in the nation.

“You are in a war,” he said. “And the quicker you figure that out, the better off you’re going to be. You have a unique, historic opportunity in this city. No city has ever passed a ban on late-term abortion, and you have that opportunity.”

During his presentation, Levatino described the steps to performing a late-term abortion and said abortions cannot be used to save the mother in emergency health situations because the procedure takes several days to prepare for the operation. He said what should be done is a caesarean section.

Levatino said during his time as an abortionist he performed about 1,200 abortions, more than 100 of which were late term. He said the “vast majority” of abortions do not involve rape, incest or fetal anomalies.

He also showed a video from anti-abortion group Live Action, which relayed audio from a woman pretending to need an abortion who visited a New Mexico abortion clinic. The woman recorded the employees of the abortion clinic without their knowledge, Levatino said.

Samantha Serrano, president and cofounder of Students for Life, an anti-abortion organization on campus, said she found the presentation informative.

“Hearing from a man who used to do thousands of abortions … and to hear that there is a safe way to end pregnancies that allows the child to live. I think that people need to know about that,” she said.

With the special election approaching, Levatino told anti-abortion activists not to try to persuade pro-abortion voters.

“For the next 11 days, forget education — it’s a waste of time,” he said. “You only have 11 days. Do the education in 12, 13, 14 days and beyond. For now, you get votes.”

Levatino said not to worry about the aftermath of the campaign, which will likely be passed on to the courts. He said the most important part of passing the ordinance would be the resulting publicity.

“The victory here is winning the vote, because of the attention it would get, because of the encouragement it will give to other cities to do exactly the same,” he said.

Levatino said that because this is an “off-year election,” there will be a poor voter turnout, which activists could use to their advantage.

“The turnout is going to be terrible,” he said. “The turnout is going to be awful. That is your friend. That is a good thing. You can swing an election in a city, even one this large, with just a few hundred votes.”