Albuquerque, NM, residents voted down an abortion ban yesterday in a city wide election. The referendum which was put on the ballot by city residents and several anti-abortion groups would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. The final vote was 55% against the ban and 45% for the ban, certainly not the results the pro-life advocates of the bill were hoping for.
It is believed this was the first of its kind of referendum vote in the country. It could have had a ripple effect throughout the country and still could. Most abortion battles have been fought at the state and national levels. Albuquerque has become a battleground in the abortion fight, being called by pro-life groups as the “Abortion Capital of the World.”
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected an emergency application to stop a recently enacted Texas abortion law which requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Texas law will force about one third of the 36 abortion clinics in the state to close. The Supreme Court’s vote was split along ideological lines but it could be a sign the tide is beginning to turn on the abortion issue. Recent cases such as that of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and what happened at his abortion clinic have brought abortion to the forefront again. In the Gosnell case, he was found guilty of first degree murder for the killing of three babies who were born alive.
The Albuquerque law was called the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance because it is at 20 weeks that the proponents believe a baby can first feel pain in a mother’s womb. Those against the ordinance don’t agree with this. There have been several conflicting studies as to exactly when a baby in the womb feels pain since pain is mostly subjective.
The procedure is known as Induction Abortion or the “MOLD Technique” and has come under attack for two reasons. MOLD stands for the four drugs used in the process; Misoprostol, Oxytocin, Laminaria, and Digoxin. The unborn baby is injected with Digoxin either through the mother’s womb or vagina which induces a heart attack. The other drugs are later injected and the baby is still-born.
This procedure takes three days to complete and is not necessarily completed in the clinic where it was started. In Albuquerque one clinic has arrangements with at least one local hotel where the patient can stay after the procedure while waiting for the aborted baby to be delivered into the toilet. Critics claim there is no medical control in a situation like this.
The second issue is the later an abortion is performed during the pregnancy, the more risk there is to the mother. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the rate of death for a woman having an abortion after 21 weeks is one per 11,000.
This referendum could be the start of similar ballot questions in other cities throughout the country; although now that Albuquerque voted down the abortion ban it will remain to be seen.
A bill banning late term abortions was passed in the US House of Representatives earlier this year and is waiting for a companion bill to be put forth in the Senate.
Written by Paul Roy