City councilor claims abortion ban vote is unconstitutional

Posted at: 10/07/2013 10:19 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A special election on a late-term abortion ban is already set for next month in Albuquerque.  

But one city councilor wants to stop that from happening.   

Northeast Albuquerque city councilor Trudy Jones says the late-term abortion ban election is unconstitutional.

"When I saw this come across my desk today I was like, 'Wait a minute.'" said Debra Doll.

Doll is part of group pushing for a late term abortion ban in Albuquerque.   

The group got the signatures needed to hold a special election on November 19, and Albuquerque voters will decide whether to ban abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy in that election.

"That referendum goes to a vote of the people, and there's nothing that can thwart that," said Doll.

But there might be.

In a two page draft, Jones says independent legal counsel has determined the proposed ordinance is unconstitutional on its face.

She wants the city to seek a ruling from a court to provide guidance on the ordinance's constitutionality.

"We've done everything according to law, and she does not have, nor does any city council member, have the right to take away the people's right to vote," said Doll.

City council president Dan Lewis agrees.

Lewis has already denied a request by Jones for immediate action at Wednesday's meeting.

But the bill will likely go to committee, and make its way through regular city council channels.

Jones said she's not taking a side on the abortion issue. She says she's just worried about the cost of a special election if -- in the end-- the ordinance is determined to be unconstitutional.   

Jones says the special election and potential legal challenges could cost the city more than a $1 million.

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