March 12, 2023

Guv’s funding for reproductive healthcare clinic survives challenge in House

An effort to strike the $10 million pledged by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for a full-spectrum reproductive healthcare clinic in Doña Ana County failed on Saturday.

State Rep. John Block, R-Alamogordo, introduced an amendment to the capital outlay bill to strike the pledge to help enable a reproductive healthcare clinic, which would include abortion, in Doña Ana County. Several Republicans said they couldn’t support the capital outlay bill due to the governor’s pledge.

Bill sponsor Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, said it was an unfriendly amendment. He also said the pledge of $10 million amounted to .8 percent of the $1.2 billion project list.

After the amendment failed, several Republicans continued to say they could not support the capital outlay bill because of the governor’s pledge. Many argued that abortion would be available up to birth.

After the amendment failed, the New Mexico House Republican Caucus issued the following statement:

“There are a number of important projects being funded in HB 505 but unfortunately Republicans cannot support the Capital Outlay Bill in light of the Governor’s insistence on using $10 million of taxpayer dollars to fund an abortion clinic that will allow non-emergency abortions up to the moment of birth.”

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that only 1 to 2 percent of all abortions occur after 21 weeks of gestation and the organization says that to claim that a fetus is born alive, then aborted, is clinically inaccurate, misleading and inflammatory.

Lente said he respects other members’ personal objections to the bill. But, he said both the executive and the legislative branch are able to pledge money to fund projects.

“At this point in time, when the governor doesn’t tell us how to share our personal shares, there is no reason for us to tell her how to spend hers,” he said.

The capital outlay bill passed by 41-26.