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New Mexico city rejects proposed abortion ban

Voters of Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday rejected a proposed ordinance [text, PDF] that would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In a 55 to 45 percent vote, the citizens voted against [unofficial results] allowing the proposed ordinance to become law. This referendum marked the first time [Reuters report] a city had ever been asked to vote on a proposed abortion ban. The vote was initiated by pro-life advocates who supported the ordinance. It was drafted based on the same highly contested medical research conducted by the group Doctors on Fetal Pain [advocacy website] that has served as the basis for 12 similar state regulations, which purports that fetuses can begin to feel pain at 20 weeks. While advocacy groups such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy websites] have called this a great victory [AP report], pro-life groups have vowed to continue using similar campaigns throughout the nation.

Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] have also recently been a hot button issue at the national level in the US. On the same day that the Albuquerque results were announced, the US Supreme Court [official website] refused to strike down [JURIST report] a Texas abortion law [HB 2, text] that requires doctors to get admitting privileges at a nearby hospital before performing abortions in clinics. In August, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] struck down [JURIST report] an Arizona law [HB 2800, PDF] that disqualified health care providers that perform abortions from receiving public funds. That same month, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) [advocacy website] sued [JURIST report] the Indiana State Department of Health [official website] challenging a new regulation that defined facilities prescribing Mifepristone as abortion clinics and required them to meet regulatory requirements of surgical facilities, even if they did not perform surgical procedures. A similar bill was enacted [JURIST report] in Alabama in April and has since received criticism as a "back-door" attempt [JURIST op-ed] to circumvent a woman's right to abortion.

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