Albuquerque WORD chapter hosts speak-out against anti-choice legislation
The struggle against an anti-choice ballot measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, continues as the date of the November 19 special election approaches. The proposed city ordinance was put on a special ballot by far-right, anti-choice groups from Kansas.
The Albuquerque chapter of WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) hosted a public meeting on October 25 to discuss strategies for combating the anti-choice legislation.
The panel included speakers from WORD, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Catholics for Choice, Personhood for Women, the National Organization for Women (NOW), and the Respect ABQ Women campaign.
National WORD organizer Nathalie Hrizi traveled to Albuquerque from San Francisco to speak at the meeting and to help organize a street outreach campaign that the local WORD chapter will be continuing up until the day of the vote.
In a national statement issued prior to the meeting, WORD spoke out about the ballot measure:
This ballot measure is NOT about banning abortions at 20 weeks – it is about taking the first steps in banning ALL abortions, not just in Albuquerque, but nationwide.
This is a battle in a larger war on women being waged by the right wing. With each battle they win, they are taking more territory. We cannot cede them any territory. We cannot accept any infringements on reproductive rights. We cannot allow them to roll back the clock on the rights that women fought for and won.
Anti-choice groups, like the Legal Life Defense Foundation and Operation Rescue, were unable pass laws at the state-level in New Mexico. This ordinance is a new step, a new tactic, to pull the issue down to the local level. They hope to set a precedent of local bans, with the hope that this tactic will spread across the country and lend itself to helping increase the restrictions on abortion at earlier and earlier stages until what was a right is completely banned for all.
We cannot stand by and allow this to happen! One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. This is an issue that impacts hundreds of thousands of women across the United States.
At the Oct. 25 meeting, Albuquerque organizer Pamela Herndon from the Southwest Women’s Law Center drew connections between the attacks on teachers and on women’s rights that are occurring at the same time across New Mexico. She told the story of a teacher in one of the state’s rural communities who was fired for teaching a student how to properly use a condom.
Marylou Singleton of the Albuquerque-based Personhood for Women discussed the passage of so-called “fetal rights” laws that have led to hundreds of women across the nation being imprisoned.
Nathalie Hrizi of WORD emphasized the national implications of this attack on women's rights in Albuquerque, discussed the ways in which working-class and women of color will be the most negatively impacted by the proposed legislation, and talked about the need for a nationwide fight-back movement.
The public discussion, which comprised the majority of the meeting, was a chance for many of Albuquerque’s most involved activists to speak out on the issue of women’s rights. Many spoke enthusiastically about drawing connections between the struggle for women’s rights and a variety of other social justice issues. Others expressed their determination to have a polling location at the University of New Mexico campus, which would allow the largely pro-choice student community to make their voices heard more easily.
Participants were also interested in finding ways to reach out to communities who might not have access to information about the ballot measure. WORD has initiated an extensive outreach campaign, putting up English- and Spanish-language posters all around the city.
This ballot measure, if it succeeds, will set a dangerous precedent for cities all around the country. It is the first attempt by right-wing groups to pass their agendas at a city level. Albuquerque is being used as a testing ground by the right wing to level attacks against the rights women have won through decades of struggle.
The women of Albuquerque are not willing to go back! WORD is committed to fighting back with everything we have to defend women’s rights in Albuquerque.
Fight against anti-woman, right-wing reactionaries who are attacking women’s rights in Albuquerque!
What you can do:
- Spread the word about the Albuquerque ballot measure! Let your friends and family know why we should all support the struggle Albuquerque because the right wing is attempting to use this tactic nationwide.
- Print a flyer & submit your photo in solidarity with Albuquerque women.
- Help to spread the word about this important struggle to everyone you know in Albuquerque.
- Become a volunteer.
- Attend local events in defense of women’s rights.
- Speak out at Albuquerque City Council on November 18 to demand a resolution that protects women’s reproductive rights.
- Vote against the November 19 ballot measure that takes away a woman’s access to a safe abortion.