Albuquerque is preparing to vote on ballot initiative that would outlaw abortion procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It’s the only high-profile reproductive rights measure up for a vote in the the 2013 elections, and if it passes, Albuquerque may become the first city in the country to impose a local abortion ban.
And in advance of the vote, an anti-choice group in the city is taking their message to the streets. They’re driving around a truck that’s plastered with graphic and bloody depictions of fetuses. “Vote for the late-term abortion ban,” the side of the truck proclaims.
It’s sparking controversy in the community. One local parent told KRQE News 13 that the images on the truck are “horrific” and she hopes her son doesn’t see them. “You just don’t get the children involved,” she explained to the local news affiliate. “It’s none of their business. they’re innocent, they’re young. we’re adults and we should handle it and handle it in an adult manner.”
It’s not the first time that abortion opponents in the city have angered residents by involving kids in their effort to raise awareness for the upcoming ballot initiative. On Halloween, some trick-or-treaters received anti-choice materials along with their candy. That effort wasn’t spearheaded by the anti-choice group that’s officially advocating for the 20-week ban, but it wasn’t exactly condemned, either — a spokeswomen from that group noted that “Whatever anyone else feels empowered to do, we’re not going to stop them.”
Bud Shaver, a member of the anti-choice group Project Defending Life and the man behind the truck, defends the bloody images on his rolling billboard. “This just shows what abortion is,” he told local news outlet KOAT 7. “It shows the reality of what abortion is.”
Shaver keeps his truck parked nearby the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion clinic, one of the last clinics in the country that continues to offer late-term abortion services. Since the assassination of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, there are only four doctors in the United States who openly perform these types of abortion, and they face constant threats and harassment. One of those four doctors, Leroy Carhart, was driven out of his home state of Nebraska in 2010 after lawmakers passed a 20-week abortion ban there. Now, the anti-choice community wants to do the same to Southwestern Women’s Options.
Shaver plans to drive his truck around town for the next two weeks. The abortion ban will officially be up for vote on November 18, but early voting in the special election has already begun.