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A Major Battle Over Abortion Is Being Waged in New Mexico – and You Probably Haven't Even Heard About It

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"Do you believe you have the power to change the culture?"

AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO

One of the biggest abortion battles in recent memory is being waged right now in Albuquerque, N.M., and you may not have even heard about it.

AP

The city will vote Tuesday on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance, a bill to ban abortions performed at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

While similar legislation has already been passed in at least 13 state legislatures, Albuquerque marks the first time that the decision has been put “directly in the hands of residents,” as the Washington Free Beacon noted.

Also, unlike the states that have already banned abortions performed at 20 weeks, Albuquerque is deep blue. In fact, President Barack Obama in 2012 won New Mexico's most populated city by approximately 15 points.

Simply put, if the bill passes on Nov. 19, it could signal a major shift in the country's longstanding debate over abortion, or so says Emily Buchanan, executive vice president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.

Supporters of the bill are underfunded, outspent and outnumbered (in terms of organizational strength). Moreover, the state’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez, has shrewdly chosen to avoid the fight.

Opposition to the bill has come in the form of major national pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL, the ACLU and Organizing for America, dumping about $800,000 into fighting the measure.

That’s a 4-1 spending advantage in favor of pro-abortion groups.

Organizations opposed to the bill have also brought in volunteers from Arizona and Colorado to help canvass the city with the same type of technology employed by President Barack Obama’s campaigns, according to the Beacon.

Further complicating the issue for supporters of the bill is the fact that Albuquerque with its 550,000 residents is the late-term abortion capital of the United States.

But even with the financial and organizational disadvantage, supporters of the bill are confident they’ll win the day and pass the bill into law. Part of this confidence comes from the fact that a recent poll taken in September by the Albuquerque Journal found voters supported the ban 54-39.

This means “late term abortion less popular among residents than Mitt Romney was in 2012,” the Beacon reported, putting things into perspective.

The poll also found that Hispanic voters, who make up a large chunk of the city’s population, support the ban by an astonishing 60 percent. Approximately 35 percent of self-identified Democrats support the ban as well.

“When voters are confronted with the reality of late term abortion, they recoil at that,” Buchanan told the Beacon.

And that’s the attitude that has the bill’s backers so confident. The other side may have more ground troops and thousands of dollars, but people who want to see the law passed say they have the passion and momentum to get the job done.

“We have a core group of dedicated supporters that’s spent 12 hours a day to reach voters in the city for months,” former political strategist Elisa Martinez told the Beacon. “People, even pro-choice people, realize there’s something wrong with the killing of babies that are viable or on the cusp of viability.”

A newborn baby holds his mother's hand at the intensive care unit, on March 18, 2012, in Bucharest, Romania. .(AP Photo)

Supporters of the bill have made to sure to take full advantage of their religious communities.

Rev. Chris Donnelly, for example, has helped the bill’s supporters navigate New Mexico’s many churches, which host roughly 100,000 of the city’s voters.

“If you haven’t spoken on (the vote) yet, this is the last week to give it all you’ve got,” Donnelly recently said to a group of supporters. “We’re not asking our flock to get run over by tanks, we’re asking them to go to a safe election and check ‘for.’”

“Do you believe you have the power to change the culture?” he asked.

Click here to read more at the Washington Free Beacon.

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Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

This post has been updated.

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