County commissioners held two public hearings, during which they heard public comments on the proposal. The ordinance was voted down by a 3-2 margin Wednesday.
The ordinance was sponsored by County Commissioner Lawrence Romero, who was urged to introduce the ban by Jackie Farnsworth of the Valencia County Right to Life chapter. The ban would have only applied to the unincorporated areas of the county, and would not have affected any of the towns in the county.
Commissioners who voted against the ordinance cited several different reasons for their opposition. Chairman Charles Eaton called the proposal “largely symbolic,” since there is currently no abortion provider in the county. Commissioner Mary Andersen expressed concern with legislating morality and the possibility of expensive litigation.
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Across the country, anti-choice activists have been pushing 20-week abortion bans, justifying their efforts with the disproven theory of “fetal pain.” But the efforts in Albuquerque and Valencia County are the first attempts to impose such bans on a city- or county-level.
On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving a 20-week ban in Arizona.