ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — In a closely watched, first-of-its kind municipal election, voters in New Mexico's largest city have soundly defeated a ban on late-term abortions.
Voters on Tuesday rejected the measure 55 percent to 45 percent following an emotional and graphic campaign that brought in national groups and hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. The campaign included protests that compared abortion to the Holocaust and displayed pictures of aborted fetuses.
A coalition of groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and Planned Parenthood, called the results a huge victory for Albuquerque women and families.
"Albuquerque families sent a powerful message today_they do not want the government interfering in their private medical decisions," Micaela Cadena with the Respect ABQ Women campaign said in a statement. "Dangerous, unconstitutional laws like the one we rejected today have no place in Albuquerque, no place in New Mexico, no place anywhere in our nation."
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said, "We hope today's resounding defeat of this abortion ban sends a clear message to the extreme forces around the country now trying to impose their agenda on cities around this country. "
Activists on both sides of the issue said it was the first municipal ballot measure on the matter, which usually is debated at the state and federal level. Abortion opponents had hoped that a victory in Albuquerque would create momentum in their long-running fight to ban abortion.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of the New York-based Priests for Life, said Tuesday night that anti-abortion activists should not be discouraged.
"It is a brilliant strategy and we will see to it that this effort is introduced in other cities and states," he said in a statement. "The fact is, of course, that children have in fact been saved through this effort, simply because we have raised the issue of fetal pain, which does not even cross the minds of many abortionists."
Much of the campaign focused on the debate over when and whether fetuses can feel pain.
Albuquerque became the focus of the latest anti-abortion campaign because it is home to Southwestern Women's Options, one of just a handful of clinics in the country that perform late-term abortions. The proposal would have banned abortions after 20 weeks except to save the mother's life.
A leader of the initiative, Tara Shaver, said her group gathered signatures to put the issue to voters after failing to make headway in the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
Asked if other cities with late-term abortion clinics might be targeted in the future, Shaver said, "We are encouraging people to see what can be done at the city level. ... We are starting to get calls from people asking us how to do what we have done."
Police were stationed near polling places Tuesday as protesters from both sides tried to persuade voters who were lining up before the polls closed. One school reported an hour wait.
Michelle Halfacre said she cast her ballot in favor of the proposal, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks except to save the mother's life.
"I had an abortion when I was young, and I regret it," Halfacre said. "I don't believe in it."
But Jonathan Cottrell, a crisis hotline volunteer, said he voted against the proposal because he believes it marks the beginning of a "slippery slope to ban abortion in general."
"I feel that women have the right to choose what to do to their body," Cottrell said.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Brenden Morrow scored twice and the St. Louis Blues continued their mastery of the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-1 win Tuesday night.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Magnus Paajarvi also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves for the Blues, who have won 13 of 15 games against Buffalo since 1999.
Tyler Ennis scored the Sabres' goal just 10 seconds into the game, as Buffalo lost at home after consecutive home wins last week.
The Blues' league-best power play stayed productive, scoring in their fourth straight game. It's a stretch that's seen the Blues go 6 of 17 with the man advantage.
St. Louis is 8-1 in its past nine trips to Buffalo. The Blues improved to 7-2 against Eastern Conference teams, outscoring opponents 31-17.
Though the Blues outshot the Sabres 31-24, they got off to a slow start.
After a dump into the Blues zone off the opening faceoff, Ville Leino stripped the puck from Jay Bouwmeester below the left faceoff circle and found Ennis, who beat Halak with a low shot to give the Sabres an early lead.
It took less than a minute for the Blues to tie it, as Morrow pounced on a rebound and beat Ryan Miller at 1:09 of the first.
Tarasenko scored a power-play goal with 36 seconds to play in the first period on a pass from T.J. Oshie, who collected his own blocked shot.
Buffalo has been outscored 31-4 in the first period this season.
Morrow's second of the game came when Cody McCormick lost the puck behind the Buffalo net. Chris Stewart picked up the puck and passed to Morrow, who had raced into the high slot for a one-timer.
It was Morrow's first multi-goal game since April 17, when he scored twice against Montreal. Stewart had two assists.
Paajarvi added his first goal for the Blues when he beat Miller below his blocker with just over six minutes played in the third.
St. Louis' top-ranked road penalty kill stopped both of Buffalo's power plays.
Defenseman Mike Weber returned to the Sabres' lineup after missing 10 games with a hand injury suffered Oct. 25 against Florida.
NOTES: Blues C Patrik Berglund missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... The Sabres sent D Rasmus Ristolainen, LW Johan Larsson and C Mikhail Grigorenko to their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester on Tuesday. ... Buffalo also sent D Nikita Zadorov to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
Confessed white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin has been executed after two federal stays were vacated just after midnight Wednesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughery ruled late Tuesday afternoon that a lawsuit filed by Franklin and 21 other death-row inmates challenging Missouri's execution protocol must first be resolved.
Later in the day, a second federal judge stayed the execution, saying a defense appeal over Franklin's mental competency needs more review.
After an appeal by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the 8th circuit U.S. District Court vacated both stays.
Only the U.S. Supreme Court can intervene to stop Franklin's execution now.
It was one of as many as 20 killings committed by Franklin, who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980.
EB I-70 is shut down at St. Louis Avenue near downtown as police investigate a shooting. Officials didn't say when they expect the highway to reopen, but advise drivers to use an alternate route. Police say a 26 year old man was shot by someone in a passing car near Cass and North 13th. The victim is in stable condition. Police are searching for suspects.