March 15, 2023

Bill to protect reproductive health care providers, patients heads to House floor

With just days left before the end of the 2023 Legislative Session, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill to protect reproductive health care providers and patients in New Mexico. 

The committee passed the bill on y a 6 to 2, party line vote.

SB 13, sponsored by state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, appeared to stall earlier in the session but now heads the House floor. The bill must be heard and pass the House before 12 p.m. Saturday to reach Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk this year.

The bill would, if enacted, protect both providers providing reproductive healthcare and patients seeking it in New Mexico. The bill would codify Lujan Grisham’s executive order last year so that the protections currently in place will remain so regardless of who is governor.

The debate in the House Judiciary Committee centered around whether the bill would create legal complications if a provider is licensed in both New Mexico and in a state where abortion has been criminalized. 

State Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, said when “someone commits a crime in another state, it’s a practice that we cooperate with that state.”

“This is saying we’re not cooperating with them. I don’t understand that rationale,” he said.

State Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, who presented the bill to the committee, said “in our state, we’re protecting healthcare by ensuring those practicing would not be subject to any extradition.”

“That’s the point of the bill,” she said. 

House Majority Floor Leader Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, asked if any state that has already passed similar legislation has experienced a lawsuit that has shifted to federal court.

Romero said she has not heard of one.