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Conscience Magazine

Catholics in Albuquerque Help Defeat Later Abortion Ban Supported by Catholic Bishops

February 19, 2014

In Albuquerque New Mexico, an antichoice coalition tried, and failed, to push through a ballot measure that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks within city limits. The antichoice groups had the support of members of the hierarchy, such as Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who spoke from the pulpit urging Catholics to vote for the ban and thus “say yes to the unborn child.” The initiative was spearheaded by antichoice activists who came from outside the region, relied on junk science and used trucks bearing gory images to influence voters to support the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance.”

Catholics for Choice mobilized local Catholics to oppose the ban. Sara Hutchinson, domestic program director of Catholics for Choice, told MSNBC news, “We’ve heard from Catholics on the ground in Albuquerque. They are not happy that the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic hierarchy have been pushing this ban.” Catholics were active in the Respect ABQ Women campaign opposing the ballot measure, and this support was reflected in radio ads, print advertisements in local papers and on social media.

The ban on later abortion in Albuquerque was defeated by a significant margin of 55 to 45 percent when the vote was held in late November. The outcome helped preserve abortion access for women from across the country who are served by one of the few remaining clinics performing later procedures.

Tagged Abortion