On Halloween night in Albuquerque, several parents were disturbed to find their children's candy bags contained anti-abortion leaflets with an image of an unborn fetus on the cover. As shocking as this may sound, it seems in keeping with local sentiments around an abortion restriction measure that will come to a vote on November 19. If passed, the measure, which had a 54 percent approval rating in a September poll, would be the first municipal ban on abortion in the country.
Similar to other abortion restriction laws already passed in 12 states, the measure would make it illegal to perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases where it would save the mother's life or prevent her from becoming seriously impaired. This particular version of the increasingly common 20-week ban (one is even expected to be introduced in Congress) offers no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, or those who suffer from "psychological or emotional conditions." The well-known anti-abortion group Operation Rescue recently turned its attention to Albuquerque and has started harassing people at abortion clinics there.
Albuquerque now joins a growing number of initiatives nationwide that are increasingly relying on back-door approaches to abortion bans and so-called TRAP laws that aim to cripple abortion clinics state-by-state. And these same regulations, which often force abortion providers out of business, have a disproportionate effect on low-income women of color who then have to travel farther distances and incur increased expenses to get reproductive health services they need.