ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It's a hot button issue that could make its way into Albuquerque's mayoral race.
Just last week, pro-life groups turned in more than double the number of signatures they needed to force city voters to decide whether or not to approve a ban on abortions 20 weeks after fertilization in Albuquerque. The proposal would provide an exception in case the mother's life is threatened.
Although city clerk Amy Bailey is still verifying whether enough of those signatures are valid, one likely outcome is the city placing the issue on the October ballot when city voters will choose Albuquerque's next mayor.
All three mayoral candidates said where they stand on the proposal Tuesday.
"I will be voting against the law," said the lone Democrat in the race, Pete Dinelli. "I strongly support a woman's right to choose. This is a decision that has to be made by a woman consulting with her physician."
But his Republican opponents, current Mayor Richard Berry and retired APD Sgt. Paul Heh, both support the proposed ban.
"Personally, I am opposed to late-term abortion and will vote accordingly," Berry said.
"[It's] five months," Heh said. "That gives a woman five months to make up their mind whether they want to have an abortion or not. I think that's plenty long enough."
The polarizing issue could increase voter turnout, something that might benefit Dinelli in a city where registered Democrats significantly outnumber registered Republicans.
However, two recent national polls showing popular support for bans on abortions 20 weeks after fertilization may mean more voters friendly to Berry or Heh.
In a national Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 44 percent of those surveyed were in favor of such a ban while 37 percent were opposed. A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed 56 percent in favor of a similar ban with 27 percent opposed.
It's important to note the city council doesn't have to put the issue on the October ballot or even call for a vote on the proposal. Council members have the option of simply approving the proposal as written or calling for a costly special election on a different date.
Even if voters approve the proposal, a judge would likely have the final word. Similar bans in other states have faced legal challenges and a version in Arizona was struck down on constitutional grounds.
An Albuquerque Police officer involved shooting over the weekend marks the fifth since late October and city officials are taking notice.
A woman was stolen from her daughter's car, a woman who died more than five years ago.
Albuquerque police shot and killed a man Sunday night after responding to an assault call near UNM.
Deputies were led on a chase around 4 p.m. Monday after a person called 911 to report their vehicle had been stolen and was being driven recklessly around Albuquerque.
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