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Albuquerque City Council sends to committee a resolution that would have delayed the vote on “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance”

by | Oct 10, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

The Albuqueque City Council's chambers were packed Wednesday.

The Albuqueque City Council’s chambers were packed Wednesday.

In spite of the best efforts of an Albuquerque city councilor and the New Mexico attorney general, it appears after last night that city voters will vote on the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, the juncture by which science shows the unborn child can experience pain. The vote is November 19.

A poll taken in September by the Albuquerque Journal newspaper showed 54% of city voters supported the measure, while only 39% in opposition.

City Councilor City councilor Trudy Jones “introduced a resolution asking the city to get outside legal opinions before there’s a vote,” according to KASA.com’s Amanda Goodman. It just so happened that Jones had already solicited a formal ruling from Attorney General Gary King.

In a letter to Jones, King says only state officials can seek a formal opinion, but he issued the letter because “voters have the right to know and decide whether they want to bear the protracted expense of litigation over a measure that is unconstitutional and unenforceable.”

King wrote that “federal and New Mexico constitutional limitations make a ban on any otherwise legal abortion unenforceable,” adding “recent federal court actions have struck down ordinances identical or similar to the proposed measure in Albuquerque.”

According to media accounts, the chambers were packed and “most of those who spoke were in favor of allowing the ban to go to the voters saying the city should not interfere in the democratic process.”

Goodman wrote, “The resolution was sent to a committee. The committee chair deferred it until after the Nov. 19 election which essentially killed the resolution.”

Pro-lifers secured 12,091 signatures in the state’s largest city. Once that threshold was reached, the City Council could only either approve the law outright or put it to voters. No one spoke in favor of the former option when the council considered the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance earlier last month.

The election resolution adopted “calls for putting the entire five-page ordinance on the ballot, not just a short summary,” Reuters reported.

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