Edgewood voters will not vote on a pro-life ordinance in November. The petition-driven initiative to overturn the ordinance by extremist pro-abortion activists, which the town commission approved in April, will not appear on the local election ballot, as anticipated.
Santa Fe County Clerk Katharine Clark informed Edgewood’s town manager, Nina McCracken, in a brief letter earlier this month that her office regards the issue as a non-binding “advisory question,” rendering it ineligible for the November 7 ballot.
McCracken clarified that the ordinance is temporarily on hold due to the petition. She explained, “The next election at which the ordinance can be considered would be in February if the commission calls for a special election.” McCracken emphasized the town’s commitment to supporting the voice of the people.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, this decision aligns with the direction given by the Secretary of State, as the issue is categorized as an advisory question, making it unsuitable for the ballot, claiming it has no legal weight.
Notably, no local abortion-related ordinances will appear on any New Mexico ballots. Instead, the ongoing dispute between some local governments and the state over the provision of abortion services will be settled in the courtroom this December.
The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on December 13 in a case that seeks to determine the impact of a recent law that codified a woman’s right to reproductive health services, including abortion, on local municipalities that pass ordinances contrary to this law.
The case is between New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez’s office and the counties of Lea and Roosevelt, as well as the cities of Hobbs and Clovis, which have passed pro-life ordinances despite the state law legalizing abortion.
At this point, Edgewood is not directly involved in this legal battle. Solicitor General Aletheia Allen from Torrez’s office suggested that all parties are waiting to see the outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling before initiating any legal action regarding the Edgewood issue.
The Edgewood ordinance, approved by the commission in April, aims to ban access to abortion pills and enables individuals to file lawsuits against those who violate this prohibition, subjecting the defendant to a minimum fine of $100,000. The ordinance is based on the federal Comstock Act, not state or local statutes.
While the issue may not be on the November ballot, it remains a topic of considerable significance in the ongoing debate surrounding abortion and local governance.