Voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, shot down a local referendum November 19 that would have banned late-term abortions in the city. The defeat of the pro-life measure, by a vote of 55 percent to 45 percent, followed an emotional campaign by activists on both sides of the issue, including protests that compared abortion to the Holocaust and signs around the city that included graphic images of pre-born babies mutilated by the abortion process.
The referendum is believed to be the first time voters in a single community have voted on a proposed abortion ban. Had it passed, the measure would have banned the murderous procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy with few exceptions.
Pro-abortion groups applauded the defeat as a victory for women. “We hope today's resounding defeat of this abortion ban sends a clear message to the extreme forces around the country now trying to impose their agenda on cities around this country,” barked the National Abortion Rights Action League in a exultant press release. “When voters hear the real stories of real women and families facing these difficult decisions, they understand the danger and complexity of putting government between women and their doctors at these moments.”
Similarly, Planned Parenthood spokesperson Dawn Laguens called the deadly defeat for pre-born babies “a major victory for women’s health.”
By contrast, Tara Shaver of New Mexico's Project Defending Life said in a statement that her group was disappointed that the residents of Albuquerque “have decided to vote to perpetuate abortions through all nine months in our city.” She added, however, that “we know the campaign has been a huge success in the realm of education and awareness, and we know that our movement is energized on the ground.”
Shaver, who headed up the initiative, said her group decided to target local voters in Albuquerque after the state legislature refused to ban late-term abortion state-wide. She said they chose Albuquerque in part because it is home to a notorious clinic that performs late-term abortions on women who come from around the country for the murderous service. She said that her group may focus on other cities in New Mexico and beyond which have late-term abortion clinics. “We are encouraging people to see what can be done at the city level,” she said. “We are starting to get calls from people asking us how to do what we have done."
Pro-life leaders said that they would continue to push for the ban in Albuqueque. “Pro-life supporters may have suffered a political loss, but we are far from defeated,” said Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue. “We'll be back. It is clear that the people are uncomfortable with late-term abortions and would like to see them end. We learned a lot from this campaign, and we look forward to another try that will better reflect the true feeling of the voters on this subject.”
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said that pro-life activists in Albuquerque “should not feel discouraged about the defeat of the effort,” calling the local campaign a “brilliant strategy.... We will see to it that this effort is introduced in other cities and states.”
As reported by The New American, the defeat in Albuquerque came on the same day as a significant pro-life victory in Texas. By a five-to-four vote on November 19, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn a newly implemented Texas law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of their abortion clinics.
LifeNews.com reported that a recent national poll by the Polling Company found that, “after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger. Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.”
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council noted that while the referendum was a local one, it had national implications since Albuquerque “is home to some of America’s only late-term abortion providers. For too long the city has been a destination for death, as moms travel near and far to take advantage of the area’s loose laws.”
The pro-life group Live Action noted that some local motels in Albuquerque work closely with the city's late-term abortion clinics to house women for the week-long procedure. “Albuquerque is the late-term abortion capital of the world,” said Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, which does undercover investigations of abortion clinics around the nation. “We see late-term abortionists doing ‘fly-ins’ to perform these procedures — dangerous for mothers, fatal for children — and local hotels providing free shuttle service to and from the rooms where many of these women get holed up to finish out the gruesome destruction of their babies.”
Rose noted one particular Albuquerque area motel, the Plaza Inn, which she said worked closely with abortion providers. “The Plaza Inn is more than willing to give discounts and free transportation to mothers about to have their children poisoned to death and torn apart,” Rose charged. “But you’ll notice that the hotel refuses to transport these women to the abortion facility at the most dangerous point of the procedure — in the middle of the night, when they might be in labor, delivering a dead baby over the toilet. How many other hotels — in Albuquerque and across the nation — are profiting from these gruesome procedures? How many are offering discounts for death?”
Charisma News, which reported on an undercover investigation Live Action did about the Plaza Inn and its relationship with late-term abortion providers, noted that “according to its website, the Plaza Inn, which boasts 'the best in southwestern hospitality,' is associated with three other hotels in the region: the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Colton/Riverside, Calif.; the Holiday Inn Express in Barstow, Calif.; and the Palmdale Hotel and Resort in Palmdale, Calif.”