April 7, 2023

Guv signs capital outlay bill, which includes $10 million pledge for reproductive clinic in Las Cruces


Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is seen signing the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare bill into law.

The day before the deadline to sign bills, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the capital outlay bill, which includes a $10 million pledge to build a full-spectrum reproductive health clinic in Las Cruces.

HB 505 contains $1.2 billion worth of projects to be built across the state.

Among those is Lujan Grisham’s $10 million pledge to build a full-spectrum reproductive health care clinic in Las Cruces. Lujan Grisham announced the pledge last summer, a few months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade when it ruled against a Mississippi abortion clinic that provided abortions up to 16 weeks.

Several organizations have partnered to begin discussions on the future clinic. The nonprofit policy advocate organization Bold Futures, based in Las Cruces, is one of the forefront organizations working on the project.

But the new clinic is, at least, a few years from becoming a reality, Bold Futures Executive Director Charlene Bencomo told NM Political Report recently.

Related: New full-spectrum reproductive health care clinic in Las Cruces still in planning stages 

Bencomo said even the location of the plants in the reception office are under consideration. A 13-member advisory board is discussing the project.

Bencomo said the goal is to ensure the clinic feels inclusive to all individuals. She said some of the additional goals the partners are discussing is the possibility of the clinic to become a training center and, also, to provide care regardless of insurance status.

Lack of insurance or being underinsured impacts health outcomes and is a problem disproportionately faced by groups who also face systemic racism or discrimination.

For instance, the LGBTQ community suffers poorer health outcomes than straight, cisgender individuals. That gap is attributed to lower rates of health insurance coverage, high rates of stress due to discrimination and systemic harassment and a lack of cultural competency in the health care system, according to the nonpartisan policy institute, the Center for American Progress.

According to the Network for Public Health Law, Black women are three-to-four times more likely to die in pregnancy and five times more likely to die from pregnancy-related cardiomyopathy and blood pressure disorders than white women and are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. According to the National Library of Medicine, Hispanic women are less likely to receive regular mammograms and pap tests. Native Americans have a life expectancy 5.5 years less than all other American races, according to Indian Health Services.

Bencomo said whether the new clinic would provide medication abortion only or also include surgical abortion is still under discussion.
During the bill’s debate on the House floor, some Republicans tried to remove Lujan Grisham’s $10 million out of the bill through an amendment, which failed. Many House Republicans said they could not vote for the capital outlay bill because of the pledge. Lente said the money accounted for 0.8 percent of the overall amount allocated for projects around the state.