ALBUQUERQUE, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A referendum that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks in Albuquerque lost at the polls Tuesday, with 55 percent of the voters opposing it.
More than 90 percent of the votes had been counted, CNN reported.
If the referendum had passed, it would have effectively banned late abortions in New Mexico, The New York Times said. Two clinics in the state perform abortions at 20 weeks or later, and both are in Albuquerque.
The referendum was the first by anti-abortion activists to try to get a municipal ban. Twelve states have enacted bans, with Arizona setting the limit at 18 weeks, the most restrictive in the country. Judges have blocked the bans in Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.
Anti-abortion activists say fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, something that is disputed by many doctors.
Both sides claimed the outcome as a victory.
"This was a clear counterpunch to the Republicans and right-wingers who came from out of state to push their agenda on us," Sam Bregman, chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party, told the Times.
Tara Shaver, a Kansas resident who was one of the leaders of the referendum movement, was undeterred by the loss.
"We'll walk away with thousands of people educated about what abortion is," she said.