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Campaign begins to defeat ABQ abortion proposal

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Opponents of a proposal to restrict abortions in Albuquerque launched their campaign Thursday morning with a news conference at La Mesa Presbyterian Church.

About 80 people turned out, some holding signs that said, “respect ABQ women.”

Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld of Congregation Albert said “there are lines you don’t cross,” and one of them is the government telling a woman when she can have a medical procedure, he said.

“Do I choose to follow the tenants of my faith, or will the government tell me that the tenants of my faith are secondary to the tenants of another faith on which it’s decided to base its laws on?” he asked. “It’s absurd.”

The abortion debate comes up because activists have gathered thousands of petition signatures to get an ordinance limiting abortions on the fall ballot. The proposal would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions for when the life of the pregnant women is endanger.

It’s called the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance.” The city clerk hasn’t determined yet whether enough of the signatures are valid to move the proposal forward to voters.

Dr. Sandra Penn, a physician for more than 30 years, attacked the argument that fetal pain justifies the ordinance. A 2005 study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, she said, found that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before at least 28 or 29 weeks of pregnancy.

Supporters of the ordinance announced last week that they believe they have enough signatures to get it on the ballot.

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