August 4, 2022

An anti-abortion resolution passed in Alamogordo despite opposition

The city of Alamogordo passed a resolution on Tuesday designating the town of 31,000 as a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” despite more public opposition to the resolution than support for it.

Of the public comments, 105 members of the public were opposed while 82 spoke in favor.

Last month the Otero County commissioners passed a resolution declaring the county as a sanctuary for the unborn.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico sent letters to both the city and the county with warnings that any attempt to prevent abortion in New Mexico is in violation of the state’s constitution and that the organization would pursue civil action.

During an anti-abortion rally in Las Cruces last month, one speaker from Mississippi told the crowd that the way to turn New Mexico into an anti-abortion state was to start with the passage of a teenage consent law.

Related: How anti-abortion activists plan to turn New Mexico into an anti-abortion state

Another step in that direction is for individual counties and cities to pass sanctuary for the unborn resolutions, speakers during the Las Cruces rally said.

Nadia Cabrera-Mazzeo, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, has said that abortion rights groups in New Mexico have long expected anti-abortion activists to target the state once the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The ACLU said in a statement that such resolutions are not legally binding and are not enforceable, but such resolutions are tactics of intimidation.

An abortion provider in Texas has said they are looking to relocate to New Mexico now that abortion is illegal in Texas. A Mississippi clinic has already relocated to Las Cruces.

Municipalities near the border with Texas would better enable pregnant individuals from Texas to travel to New Mexico for legal abortion.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday to protect pregnant individuals traveling out of state for an abortion.

Ellie Rushforth, an attorney with ACLU-NM, said in a statement to NM Political Report that the organization is “disappointed that the Alamogordo City Commission chose to ignore the outpouring of opposition to a legally unenforceable anti-abortion resolution.

“Not only are these resolutions out-of-touch with the values of the vast majority of New Mexicans but reflect a level of disrespect for their constituents’ ability to make their own personal medical decisions. The ACLU of NM will continue to monitor and address any attempts to restrict safe and legal reproductive health care, including abortion care, in New Mexico at all levels.” She said in a statement.

Rushforth also said both the city and county could face litigation in the future.

“These resolutions have no force of law and are a waste of taxpayer resources. Local bodies like the Alamogordo City Commission and the Otero County Commission are on notice that any attempt to enforce these resolutions would violate our constitution and numerous other state laws opening up those communities to potentially costly litigation. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, ACLU of New Mexico stands ready to defend New Mexicans’ right to abortion and all reproductive health care in every corner of our state,” she said.