March 6, 2023

House Education Committee passes bill to codify School-Based Health Centers

The New Mexico State Capitol, or Roundhouse Wikicommons.

The House Education Committee passed the bill to codify School-Based Health Centers into state statute by a party line vote of 8-to-4 on Monday.

SB 397, School-Based Health Centers, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, would not change the way School-Based Health Centers already operate in the state. The local school district as well as the individual school determine if the school will have a School-Based Health Center and decide what provider the school will contract with. Republicans have expressed concern over this bill, saying that parents do not receive notification for reproductive healthcare and that the districts do not have local control.

Rodriguez said she is also concerned about local control and the bill does not reduce a district’s or a school’s ability to choose which provider the school contracts with or what services the provider provides.

“This is not adding abortion or anything else. It is a fact that federal law precludes abortion by School-Based Health Centers. It precludes School-Based Health Centers from referring a child for an abortion….this bill does nothing else but codify into state statute to ensure our children can continue to access their healthcare in the schools,” Rodriguez said.  

The bill heads to the House Health and Human Services Committee next.