Thomas Roberts   |  November 20, 2013

Albuquerque victory for women's choice

Anti-choice crusaders suffered a major blow on Tuesday, as voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, rejected a historic ordinance that would have banned abortions at 20 weeks after conception. Irin Carmon discusses.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> pro-choice advocates suffer a major blow as well as a small sign of hope and it all happened in just one day. the supreme court is refusing to block texas' abortion law which supporters say has stopped a third of clinics there from providing abortions. then in balance ker ke -- albuquerque , new mexico, voters rejected a ban. it could have been a model of restricting abortion by taking it to the local level. joining me is irin carmon who went to albuquerque to cover the story and has been covering the battle over abortion for msnbc. irin, is it a surprise that that all came down in one day? it seems as if the move from the supreme court as well as how the public reacted in albuquerque .

>> well, for the longest time people have been saying that roe v. wade was the supreme court exerting its will of the people against their will by saying that abortion had to be legal until viability. yesterday was kind of a twist on that. the people voted. they said that they didn't want to see these kinds of restrictions. at the same time, every republican appointed justice voted to allow these medically unnecessary restrictions to go forward. every justice appointed by a democrat said let's wait. let's hold off because women could be harmed in the process of this being enforced.

>> so you talk about in one of your pieces that more than 87,000 were able to vote in this special election , but one thing that you were able to look at firsthand was the truth truck. and ride around. these are for people who are anti-choice. and they were very open and receptive to allowing you to ride along . what was your impression of how they were handling what they were trying to tell the voters?

>> well, i think voters were not excited about seeing these very graphic images. they were not excited about the feeling that these outsiders were coming into their town and tell them what to do. they have had these relatively liberal laws on abortion for a long time. they haven't been bothered. you know, the clinic that they were targeting, the representative who represents that district said to me i've never had anyone call and complain to me about this. but once they saw these folks that came into town from operation rescue , they were trained in wichita where dr. tiller was murdered, they didn't like it. they didn't like the screaming outside the clinic from people just trying to access medical care .

>> as we talk more about the supreme court and it was that 5-4 decision with the court rejecting this appeal by planned parenthood and others to block a provision in the texas law that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital. however, the case still moves on, correct?

>> yes.

>> because as i understand it, on appeal to the fifth u.s. circuit, arguments are expected in january. how -- based on the heels of this is it expected to move forward again to the fifth circuit?

>> well, this just shows how incredibly important the federal judiciary is right now. we've seen all of these showdowns in the senate about president obama trying to get federal judges confirmed. a very basic presidential duty. so the fifth circuit is known to be very, very conservative. it wants to overturn roe v. wade . so the appeals trial in january is expected to not go in favor of the medical providers who brought that suit, but it is -- justice briar actually said yesterday in his order that he expects that the supreme court will have to say whether creating these medically unnecessary restrictions on clinics that will force them to close their doors is against the constitutional standard that this is a right that women can pursue.

>> and as we drill down just a little deeper, specifically on the state level, tennessee and utah enforce laws on admitting privileges. similar laws are under temporary court injunctions in alabama, kansas, mississippi, north dakota and wisconsin. so as those states are being watched on a national level just like we saw in albuquerque being taken down to a local level, where does the fight march from there?

>> well, it's clear that the supreme court is going to have to say can you just make up this restriction that says the doctor has to have admitting privileges. the hallway has to be a certain width. at what point are they going to say this is an undue burden. if you're trying to create all these roadblocks in the way of people seeking abortions, can they say come on, like the jig is up here.

>> irin carmon, it's great