A move to ban abortion after 20 weeks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has overcome its first hurdle to becoming municipal law. The Albuquerque city clerk’s office confirmed today that it has verified at least 12,091 signatures on a petition to ban abortion, the threshold at which the city is required to send the ban to a vote.
“Today I will certify that number to City Council, who will begin their 14 day timeframe to act on the legislation,” said Albuquerque City Clerk Amy Bailey. During that timeframe, the city council can either enact the 20-week abortion ban as an ordinance as written, or if it amends, rejects, or refuses to act on the proposal, the city charter demands it be scheduled for an election within 90 days.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, that election “could be held Nov. 19, the tentative date for a runoff election in city races” following an election on October 8 for mayor and six city council seats that is expected to see high voter turnout.
The petition was organized by anti-choice “missionaries” from Operation Rescue who moved to the city in 2010 to drum up opposition to reproductive rights. The Journal also reports that the city attorney’s office “has questioned whether the city could enforce the law if it passed,” and opponents to the ban say they are prepared for a fight.
“We’ve followed the signature verification process and have been building a strong campaign to stand with the women of Albuquerque and urge our communities to vote NO on this ballot measure,” said Adriann Barboa of Respect ABQ Women. “The deeply personal decision to end a pregnancy should always remain with a woman, her family, and her doctor—and not as a city ordinance.”