A vote to ban abortion after 20 weeks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, won’t be taken in a high-turnout mayoral election this October, as anti-choice activists in the city had originally hoped.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, officials have verified around 9,800 signatures of the 12,091 needed to trigger municipal action on the petition, but final verification won’t come in time to print election notices 50 days in advance of the October 8 election, during which voters will elect a new mayor and six council members.
“I wouldn’t say it’s good news,” said Micaela Cadena, a community organizer with Young Women United, who is campaigning against the petition. “We’re organizing for whenever this election happens.”
The city must verify the 12,091 required signatures by August 27, after which it has 90 days to hold a vote on the petition as presented or on an amended version.
Cadena and a coalition of reproductive justice advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico are asking voters to oppose the measure, which would effectively ban abortion after 20 weeks in the state, as Albuquerque is the only New Mexico city where abortion providers are located.
“Every opportunity we get, we’re talking to our families and Albuquerque voters so they know the importance of this issue, whether it happens in November or December,” said Cadena
Anti-choice group Operation Rescue sent two “missionaries” to New Mexico in 2010 to drum up opposition to reproductive rights in the state; the petition backers have called their actions a “grassroots effort.”
But Cadena says the petition goes against New Mexicans’ respect for individual decision making and bodily autonomy: “New Mexico families have a long history of trusting women to make this decision for themselves.”