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US city votes on late-term abortion ban

November 19, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) — Voters in New Mexico’s largest city were deciding Tuesday whether to ban late-term abortions in a first-of-its-kind municipal election that was being watched closely as a possible new front in the abortion wars.

The outcome of the special election in Albuquerque was not clear following an emotional and graphic campaign that included national groups and hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising.

Michelle Halfacre said she was voting for the proposal, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother.

“I had an abortion when I was young and I regret it,” Halfacre said.

But Jonathan Cottrell said he voted against the ban because he believed the proposal marks the beginning “of a slippery slope to ban abortion in general.”

“I feel that women have the right to choose what to do to their body,” he said.

If the referendum passes, a legal challenge is expected. Attorney General Gary King has said he believes the law is unconstitutional.

A landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision established a constitutional right to have an abortion, but the issue has been bitterly fought over ever since. Several states, notably Texas, have been pursuing abortion restrictions.

A sharply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state’s clinics to stop providing abortions. The justices voted 5-4 to leave in effect a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.