House passes bill to expand contraception access

The state House of Representatives approved a bill to preserve contraception coverage put in place as part of the federal Affordable Care Act and expand some access on a mostly party-line vote Monday evening. Three Republicans—state Reps. Sarah Maestas Barnes and Nate Gentry of Albuquerque and Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences—joined ranks with Democrats […]

House passes bill to expand contraception access

The state House of Representatives approved a bill to preserve contraception coverage put in place as part of the federal Affordable Care Act and expand some access on a mostly party-line vote Monday evening.

Three Republicans—state Reps. Sarah Maestas Barnes and Nate Gentry of Albuquerque and Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences—joined ranks with Democrats to approve the bill.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, would expand access to contraceptives by requiring health insurance plans to allow women to obtain up to 12 months of their birth control prescription at one time. The bill would expand the types of contraceptives available over the counter and include condoms and vasectomies in health insurance plans.

Related: House committee stalls another round of abortion bills

The bill would also preserve provisions in the ACA that expanded access to contraceptives, even if Congress repeals or overhauls the federal health care law.

Rep. Deborah Armstrong, right, and her daughter Erin Armstrong of the ACLU present a bill to expand contraception access.

During debate, some Republican legislators took issue with the fact that Armstrong’s bill covers the emergency contraceptive Plan B, commonly known as the morning-after pill. Both state Reps. Randal Crowder, R-Clovis, and Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, referred to it as “the abortion pill.”

Plan B prevents female eggs from ovulating and does not terminate a developing fetus, Armstrong explained.

“Then how can we use it up to five days after [fertilization]?” Ezzell asked.

In fact, sperm can stay in a woman’s fallopian tube for up to five days before fertilization. When the egg is fertilized, it can remain in the fallopian tube for as many as three to four days before ovulation.

If a fertilized egg already ovulated, Plan B will not work. Doctors recommend taking the emergency contraceptive as soon as possible after unprotected sex, as the chances of preventing pregnancy are reduced with time and effectively end after five days.

There are pills available to terminate a pregnancy, but Plan B is not one of them.

Little also expressed concern about religious businesses like Hobby Lobby and their ability under Armstrong’s bill to opt out of its provisions.

Rep. Deborah Armstrong, right, and her daughter Erin Armstrong of the ACLU present a bill to expand contraception access.

“This does have a religious exemption,” Armstrong responded. “If they’re not regulated under state law now, they won’t be any further.”

Related: Senate committee tables ‘20-week’ abortion ban

State Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, lamented that religious groups never get upset about health care plans that cover male sexual issues like erectile dysfunction.

“Men have opportunities to boost their vitality through Medicaid and Medicare. Those are taxpayer-funded programs,” Trujillo said, pointing to what she called “a real wide coverage gap when we have healthcare for women and healthcare for men.”

Trujillo continued: “Why would the public possibly want to subsidize this coverage like Viagra when God does not want them to procreate?”

The bill now moves to the state Senate with less than two weeks to go in the legislative session.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Politics Newsletter: LFC Budget report

Politics Newsletter: LFC Budget report

The Dec. 4 politics newsletter includes Legislative Finance Committe revenue tracking report, countdown to the legislative session and Meanwhile on the Hill.
Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

A judge upheld the congressional maps that Republicans alleged included illegal gerrymandering, particularly in the case of the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Ninth Judicial…
Challenger announces she’ll run for Ivey-Soto Senate seat

Challenger announces she’ll run for Ivey-Soto Senate seat

Former New Mexico House Democratic Campaign Committee finance director Heather Berghmans announced her run for state senate District 15 on Thursday. She is running…
Illegal cattle grazing remains a problem in Valles Caldera National Preserve

Illegal cattle grazing remains a problem in Valles Caldera National Preserve

Legal grazing is allowed in an allotment in the national preserve and Tuell said the cattle grazed on that allotment have not caused problems…
A different perspective on the energy transition

A different perspective on the energy transition

Merrie Lee Soules has never worked for a utility in any sense, which, on first glance, could make her an odd choice to testify…
Energy transition brings new challenges to utilities planning distribution

Energy transition brings new challenges to utilities planning distribution

As of today, 8 percent of the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s customers—approximately 41,000 customers—have solar panels or battery storage on their properties,…
More learning time, free meals coming to students this school year

More learning time, free meals coming to students this school year

As children prepare to return to school for the new public school year, they will see some changes after legislation passed in the 2023…
Legislature hears about post-COVID impacts on education

Legislature hears about post-COVID impacts on education

Public education is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns. The state Legislative Finance Committee’s Public Education Subcommittee released a report Wednesday detailing…
ECECD hosts baby showers to let parents know about resources

ECECD hosts baby showers to let parents know about resources

Friday afternoon, a line of people formed outside a room in the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque.  The line was made…
Gov. Lujan Grisham tests positive for COVID

Gov. Lujan Grisham tests positive for COVID

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tested positive for COVID-19 for a third time. The governor’s office said that Lujan Grisham is experiencing mild symptoms and…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
Doctors encourage vaccinations for respiratory illnesses, including COVID

Doctors encourage vaccinations for respiratory illnesses, including COVID

Health officials from hospitals throughout the state encouraged New Mexicans to get vaccinated against three respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. After the U.S. Food and…
US Supreme Court expected to hear the abortion medication case this term

US Supreme Court expected to hear the abortion medication case this term

Two upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases  this term could impact abortion rights and victims of domestic violence. The high court has not set a…
Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Representatives from the abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising told members of the Interim Indian Affairs Committee on Monday that their monthly abortion fund…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Representatives from the abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising told members of the Interim Indian Affairs Committee on Monday that their monthly abortion fund…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
A human donor milk repository in Albuquerque needs to expand

A human donor milk repository in Albuquerque needs to expand

A human donor milk repository in Albuquerque has a growing demand and, with a need to expand, is exploring a private-public partnership to do…
Local election results certified, with some recounts pending

Local election results certified, with some recounts pending

The New Mexico State Canvass Board met Tuesday in Santa Fe to certify the official 2023 local election results. The State Canvass Board is…
NM Supreme Court hears gerrymandering oral arguments, decision to come at later date

NM Supreme Court hears gerrymandering oral arguments, decision to come at later date

Attorneys for both the Republican Party of New Mexico and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver delivered oral arguments on Monday in the case…
Voter education campaign begins as voting begins in local elections

Voter education campaign begins as voting begins in local elections

Tuesday marked the beginning of early voting for local elections throughout the state. It also marked the beginning of a voter education public service…
Politics Newsletter: LFC Budget report

Politics Newsletter: LFC Budget report

The Dec. 4 politics newsletter includes Legislative Finance Committe revenue tracking report, countdown to the legislative session and Meanwhile on the Hill.
Illegal cattle grazing remains a problem in Valles Caldera National Preserve

Illegal cattle grazing remains a problem in Valles Caldera National Preserve

Legal grazing is allowed in an allotment in the national preserve and Tuell said the cattle grazed on that allotment have not caused problems…
Heinrich introduces legislation aimed at curbing gun violence

Heinrich introduces legislation aimed at curbing gun violence

U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Angus King introduced legislation aimed at curbing fatalities from mass shooting incidents while maintaining Second Amendment protections. The two…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report