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Will New Mexico Flip the Abortion Debate?

9:21 AM, Nov 15, 2013 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Albuquerque, New Mexico preferred Barack Obama to Mitt Romney by double digits in 2012, but the city could become the site of an important pro-life victory this coming Tuesday.

Bill McMorris reports at the Washington Free Beacon on the effort to ban most abortions during the final four months of pregnancy: 

They are outgunned, out-funded, and out-organized. Popular Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who was elected with substantial social conservative support, refuses to get involved. They can still win.

Thirteen state legislatures have passed such bans and similar legislation is dormant in the U.S. House and Senate, but Albuquerque is the first city to ever put the vote directly in the hands of residents. This liberal, mid-size, southwestern city could be a bellwether in the fight against abortion, according to Emily Buchanan, the executive vice president of Susan B. Anthony List, the pro-life nonprofit coordinating the campaign.

Albuquerque is 187 square miles of Adobe sprawl, New Mexico’s only truly big city with 550,000 residents. Nearly half the city is Hispanic, giving Democrats a sizable registration advantage. It is also the late-term abortion capital of the country thanks to zero regulations and the $177,000 taxpayer dollars that were spent here on abortion in 2012.

Read the whole thing here

Every national poll conducted this year has found strong support for banning most abortions beyond the fifth month of pregnancy, but Republicans still remain skittish about the issue. They're convinced that they'll be portrayed as waging a war on women no matter what. Many are certain that the lesson of the New Jersey and Virginia 2013 elections is to run away from social issues. (Ignore the fact that Chris Christie is pro-life, ignore the fact that Bob McDonnell won Virginia by 18-points in 2009 holding the same position on abortion as Ken Cuccinelli, and ignore the fact that Cuccinelli's approach to social issues was to run away from them in 2013).

But if a Democratic city votes for a limit on late-term abortion, won't the press and the political class have to question that conventional wisdom?

The one poll conducted on the measure found that it had strong support among Hispanics and that women were more supportive than men. Pollster Brian Sanderoff told a local Albuquerque TV station, "Hispanics tend the take the Democratic position on economic issues however on social issues many hispanics are socially conservative, and this poll backs that up: 57 percent of Hispanics support the ban, 33 percent oppose it."

"We're not seeing much of a difference on gender," he added. "Fifty-one percent of men support the ban ballot measure, and 57 percent of women support it."

Of course, as McMorris notes, that poll was conducted before "Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, NARAL, and Organizing for America have quietly dumped more than $800,000 into Albuquerque, controlling a near monopoly on television advertising." Organizing for Action, the organization that used to be the Obama campaign, has thrown its weight behind the effort, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Democratic machine can turn out enough of its base to win in a Democratic city.

But if the Democratic machine can't get the job done and a rag-tag band of pro-lifers wins in Albuquerque on Tuesday, that could be a significant turning point in the abortion debate.

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