July 1, 2022

Guv talks about New Mexico reproductive rights with Biden

Hannah Grover

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other Democratic governors met virtually with President Joe Biden on Friday to discuss what Democratic-led states are doing to protect abortion rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the federal constitutional right to abortion care. This means that some states hostile to abortion have already banned abortion through trigger laws while other states will soon follow. New Mexico, along with several others, are states where abortion remains safe and legal. But a patchwork of states where abortion patients can seek care is likely to create a public healthcare crisis, many on the front lines of abortion care have said. 

Biden convened the virtual meeting on Friday with several Democratic-led state governors to discuss what each of those states have done to protect reproductive rights. He also asked for ideas on what else the federal government might do to help patients seek care.

Lujan Grisham noted that she supported the 2021 Legislature’s repeal of the 1969 New Mexico law that banned abortion with few exceptions. She also said she has heard from several sovereign nations who are interested in being a place where abortion clinics could be located in New Mexico. Abortion care has long been an issue for rural communities in the state, including Native Americans due to the lack of abortion access in those communities.

Lujan Grisham suggested the federal government consider providing abortion care at Indian Health Services, a place where abortion has not been available due to the federal Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is a rider attached to the federal budget every year prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion care.

Lujan Grisham talked about the executive order she issued this week to protect both patients and providers from extradition. She spoke of the need for more funding for family planning and mentioned that school-based health clinics are another place where both the federal government and state government could consider as a place “where residents can go.” She brought up the need for more education on reproductive care and the importance of expanding telehealth so patients seeking contraception in another state could access a provider in New Mexico.

Lujan Grisham also said she is concerned about protecting LGBTQ rights. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring dissenting opinion that other court cases decided on the same 14th Amendment due process clause interpretation could be reconsidered in the future, including same sex marriage and contraception.

“We are the brick wall against the horrific Supreme Court decision,” she said.

Biden thanked Lujan Grisham for “already standing up for folks in neighboring states,” and warned of increasing draconian measures from some states.

“People will be shocked when the first state tries to arrest a woman trying to cross a state line to get health services,” he said.