Updated: November 21, 2013
| Total campaign cash |
as of November 15, 2013
By Josh Altic
Yesterday featured a historic election on the abortion issue. Albuquerque voters rejected an initiative that would have banned abortion procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If this measure had been approved by voters, it would have made Albuquerque the first city to ban abortions after 20 weeks and would shut down the Southwestern Women's Options clinic, which is one of the few clinics in the nation that offers late term abortions during or after the sixth month of pregnancy. While many states have passed similar legislation, this is the first attempt to ban abortions after 20 weeks on the municipal level, making yesterday's election unique. Although this was a local measure, it would have had state and even nation wide effects, as women from many areas often travel to the Southwestern Women's Options clinic in Albuquerque to have a late term abortion procedure.
Although polling done by the Albuquerque Journal in early September showed 54% of voters were likely to support the initiative, the measure lost at the polls by just a little more than that majority, with 55.3% of voters saying "no" according to the current unofficial vote count. Some have tried to explain this shift in apparent voter position on the issue through the heavily unequal campaign spending seen from each side of the campaign. As of November 20, campaign finance reports showed the campaign in opposition to the abortion ban with a war chest of a little over $700,000, while the initiative supporters had collected $183,336. Moreover, donors on both sides of the issue were not restricted to local groups. Main contributors to the "No" campaign include Planned Parenthood organizations from several states, which donated a total of $344,655, and the New Mexico ACLU, which donated $245,000. The "Yes" campaign has seen its largest donations from the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization, and from residents of Albuquerque.