4-19-17

Politicians turn out for anti-abortion press conference, fundraising

Anti-abortion advocates from across the country held a press conference in Albuquerque Wednesday morning denouncing New Mexico’s flagship university for its fetal tissue donation practices. Among those who spoke at the event were Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican and Washington D.C. attorney Catherine Glenn Foster. Blackburn, who chaired the controversial congressional Select Panel on Infant Rights, said she came to “join my colleague in the House [of Representatives] and those in New Mexico that have worked on the issue of life.”

The Select Panel released a report in January faulting the University of New Mexico for lacking protocols to “ensure the survival of infants who show signs of life following extraction from the uterus.” It also scrutinized UNM’s relationship with Southwest Women’s Options, an abortion provider that has donated fetal tissue to the university for scientific research. Supporters of abortion rights, as well as minority Democrats in the Select Panel, have dismissed the report and the panel’s investigation for using “McCarthy-era tactics” to conduct “an end-to-end attack on fetal tissue donation and women’s health care.”

Pearce contended that “the laws are clear” and that “we’re simply stating, ‘Do not violate the law.’”

The Select Panel made 15 criminal referrals for its research of abortion providers and educational institutions across the country, including to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. To date, Balderas has not acted on the referral to his office.

Planned Parenthood leader talks about the videos and defunding

Earlier this month, there was a nationwide push to protest against Planned Parenthood. It was the second national call to action in the last two months. Since July, anti-abortion activists have been calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood after short, highly-edited portions of a series of videos insinuated that the organization sold and profited from fetuses. The CEO and President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains was in Albuquerque on Friday and New Mexico Political Report sat down with her to talk about what her organization does and what would happen if they were defunded. Vicki Cowart, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, told New Mexico Political Report there has been some misunderstanding when talking about Planned Parenthood and funding.

Throwback Thursday: Abortion debate quotes, then or now?

Today, like last week, we’re looking at news coverage of controversial issues decades ago and today. Here’s another reminder that the more things change in politics, the more they stay the same. Local lawmakers have long been grappling with the highly charged issue of women’s access to abortion services, as evidenced by a look through news archives from the 1979 and 1981 sessions of the New Mexico Legislature. With one week left before the deadline in the 2015 legislative session to propose new bills for consideration, nothing regarding abortion policy has surfaced so far this year. During the Jan.