Guv and AG file motion to dismiss lawsuit challenging New Mexico’s legal abortion status

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a motion on Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging New Mexico’s legal abortion status. Filed in the Fifth Judicial District Court in Chaves County in late June by state Sen. David Gallegos, R-Eunice, Roswell-based write-in Independent candidate for New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Larry Marker and Albuquerque-based former Republican primary candidate for Governor Ethel Maharg, the original suit challenged the fact that New Mexico legislature’s repeal of the state’s 1969 anti-abortion law allows legal abortion across the state. “Simply stated, no law, act or statute exists that allows for or legalizes abortion procedures in the state of New Mexico,” the lawsuit stated. Abortion remains legal in the state of New Mexico because the 2021 Legislature repealed the 1969 law that banned abortion, criminalizing it with few exceptions. Lujan Grisham signed the Respect New Mexico Women and Families Act in February 2021, before the legislature ended its session.

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.

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

After the repeal of Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion activists are looking to turn public sentiment against abortion access in New Mexico,  a state where abortion is legal, abortion rights policy experts have said. Nadia Cabrera-Mazzeo, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, said that organizations involved in reproductive rights in New Mexico expected this to happen before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. “It’s a certainty and we’ve been expecting it. We knew the second Roe was overturned, [anti-abortion activists] would set their sights on New Mexico where it’s still legal to get necessary care,” she said to NM Political Report. Last week, an anti-abortion group called Southwest Coalition for Life organized a rally in a parking lot next to the future Las Cruces Women’s Health Organization.

What can Biden’s executive order to protect reproductive access actually accomplish

President Joe Biden’s executive order to protect reproductive rights and care announced earlier this month can only do so much without Congressional budgetary support. The order directs federal agencies, particularly the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] to safeguard access to abortion care and contraception, protect the privacy of patients, promote the safety and security of both patients and providers and to coordinate federal efforts to protect reproductive access and rights. But, Biden’s ability to affect change on the current state of abortion care now that the court has overturned Roe v. Wade is “handcuffed” by a lack of action from the U.S. Congress, Noreen Farrell, attorney and executive director with the nonprofit Equal Rights Advocates, told NM Political Report. “Obviously, there’s some congressional handcuffs on the scope and impact of executive action,” Farrell said. Farrell called the order “a plan to make a plan.”

A few days after Biden’s order, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra issued guidance that states that providers must continue to follow the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, a federal law that requires that all patients receive an examination, stabilizing treatment and transfer, if necessary, as needed, irrespective of state laws that apply to specific procedures.

U.S. House passes bill to protect contraception access

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday by a 228 to 195 vote that would codify the right to contraception into law, but its future in the U.S. Senate is uncertain. All Democrats in the House voted in support of the bill. Most Republicans opposed it, but eight voted in favor. HR 8373, would codify into law the right to contraception and the right of healthcare providers to provide it and information about it. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring dissenting opinion stating that all rights based on the 14th Amendment’s right to privacy, including the right to contraception, should be revisited by the court.

U.S. House passes equality bill, but future uncertain

With bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to enshrine marriage equality into legislation on Tuesday by repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. The House voted 267 in favor with 157 Republicans voting no. All 220 Democrats voted in support of the repeal and 47 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with them. H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, included protections for interracial marriage as well. It would protect marriage equality if the court overturns Obergefell v. Hodges.

What happens when formula is scarce

The national infant formula shortage has been a crisis for many in New Mexico, but for parents of children who have dietary limitations or are differently abled, the shortage has been especially frightening. Two parents talked to NM Political Report about their ongoing struggles to find specific formula to provide nutrition to their children in the midst of the shortage. Kelly Dutro, a parent living in Albuquerque, said finding the specific formula her daughter can digest has been “really painful,” over the last few months. Dutro had one can left of the hypoallergenic formula her 8-month-old needs when she learned last week that that can was part of the company recall in February. Dutro’s daughter’s allergies means that the Dutro family is dependent on only one brand of formula.

Pastor says Ronchetti would seek to ban abortion

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti reportedly told Legacy Church Senior Pastor Steve Smothermon that he wants to ban abortion if elected. Ronchetti has publicly stated that, if elected, he will seek to ban what he calls “partial-birth abortions” by making it illegal after 15 weeks. Ronchetti said in a recent Twitter message that “I believe permitting abortion up to 15 weeks and in cases of rape, incest and when a mother’s life is at risk.”

“Partial-birth abortion” is not a medical term, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. During a Republican primary debate hosted by KOAT-TV in May, Ronchetti did not explicitly answer the question of whether he would ban or restrict abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. He said he was “firmly pro-life” and “we will protect life.”

He also said he wants to “work with anyone we can to say let’s get things into line with where the morality of the state of New Mexico is.” But he did not explain what he meant.

Abortion rights protest marches in D.C. – a story in photos

WASHINGTON, D.C. — NM Political Report traveled to Washington, D.C. shortly after the court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June. Protesters held multiple over five days. Every day some abortion rights protesters stood in front of the court, which is currently fenced off, to give voice to the millions of women and LGBTQIA+ individuals who were immediately impacted by the court’s decision. Abortion rights protesters on Independence Ave. Washington, D.C. 2022

Over the weekend, after the court’s decision, abortion rights protesters took to the streets of Washington, D.C. Leaving the Supreme Court, the protesters marched along Independence Avenue chanting abortion rights slogans.

Biden issues executive order to protect reproductive care

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Friday to protect reproductive care in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last month. Amid cries among progressives that Biden should take steps to protect abortion with measures such as expanding the court or provide abortion on federal land, Biden said during a press conference on Friday that his authority to counter the court’s decision was limited. But he raised his voice in anger when describing a recent news story about a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who had to travel out of state for a legal abortion in Indiana due to a resulting pregnancy. Biden stressed that the U.S. Congress needs to pass the Women’s Health Protective Act to protect abortion care. The U.S. House passed the bill but Republicans in the U.S. Senate have filibustered it.