February 16, 2021

Bill to repeal old abortion ban headed to House floor

The bill to repeal the antiquated abortion ban is now one step from heading to the governor’s desk.

SB 10, which was amended in the Senate, passed along party lines in an 8 to 4 vote Monday in the House Judiciary Committee. State Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, amended the bill on the Senate floor Thursday to add the names of the sections the bill would repeal for clarity.

Related: In historic turn, state Senate passes abortion ban repeal

Otherwise, SB 10 is a mirror bill to HB 7, which is already on the House floor agenda. The House convenes again Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Daniel Marzec, communications director for the Office of the Speaker Brian Egolf, said by email Monday that the House would not hear HB 7 on Tuesday, the next day that the House is scheduled to meet on the House floor. Egolf, D-Santa Fe, has said HB 7 will be heard on the House floor in the next week or two.

There was little debate amongst committee members on the bill. The House Judiciary Committee heard HB 7 on Jan. 29.

Related: Bill to decriminalize abortion heads to the House floor next

A representative from the Governor’s Council on Racial Justice, Darshan Patel, said during public comment that the council supports the passage of SB 10 because women of color and poor women are disproportionately affected by anti-abortion laws. The 1969 statute criminalizes abortion, making it a fourth degree felony. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also supports the bill and included it in her list of priorities at the beginning of the legislative session.

Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, said that if it were up to him, he wouldn’t repeal the 1969 statute. He asked if the repeal affected abortions later in pregnancy.

The bill does change how abortion care is currently practiced, Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena, D-Mesilla, said. Cadena is the lead sponsor for HB 7.

Rep. Zachary Cook, R-Ruidoso, made a motion to table SB 10, but the Democrats defeated that motion 8-4.