A bill to eliminate co-pays and cost sharing for sexually transmitted infection testing, treatment and prevention cleared the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee by a 5-2 vote on Friday. SB 132, STI Prevention and Treatment, will, if enacted, help to stem the increased rates of sexually transmitted disease, Senate Pro Tem Mimi Stewart said. Stewart, a Democrat from Albuquerque, sponsored the bill and said the rates of STI have increased both in New Mexico and nationally since 2020. Kayla Herring, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Rocky Mountains, said “treatment is prevention because it is passed through sexual contact.”
“It increases the likelihood a patient will seek STI testing so they won’t have the fear that if they are positive, they will then have to make a large payment for medication. We need to reduce the rates of STI’s in New Mexico and we believe this will do it,” Herring, who acted as an expert witness, said.
The New Mexico Legislature will debate its first two pieces of reproductive health care bills since the fall of Roe v. Wade last summer. One is designed to protect privacy and the other is intended to prevent municipalities and counties from placing local prohibitions on abortion care. The one that could bring the most controversy is the Reproductive Health Care Freedom Act, sponsored by state House Rep. Linda Serrato and state Sen. Linda Lopez, both Democrats from Albuquerque. Serrato told NM Political Report that this bill was not crafted in response to the ordinances some New Mexico municipalities have considered or passed in some rural parts of the state. She said individuals within the reproductive health community were able to anticipate those actions ahead of time and were already talking about the bill before Clovis held a special city council meeting in mid-October to consider an ordinance that would have given the city council authority to deny an abortion clinic a license to practice within the city limits.
Albuquerque City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn helped thwart an effort to reroute city funds already allocated to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for the current year’s budget on Monday evening during a city council meeting. Earlier this summer, Albuquerque City Councilor Renee Grout introduced R-22-46, a resolution that would reallocate funds the city council already approved in May that would be allocated to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
Fiscal Year 2023 began July 1 with the city budget already signed by the mayor, which included the allocation to PPRM. Fiebelkorn introduced an amendment to the proposed ordinance that would leave the $250,000 already allocated to PPRM intact while allocating an additional $100,000 to each of the nonprofits, Barrett House shelter and Prosperity Works for a community energy efficiency project. The council voted in favor of Fiebelkorn’s amended resolution 6-3 after an effort to table it failed.
Fiebelkorn sponsored the original Albuquerque City Council resolution in May that allocated $250,000 to PPRM. Fiebelkorn told NM Political Report she is proud of sponsoring the original bill and said she was a patient of Planned Parenthood herself when she was a college student.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade Friday morning, creating what individuals working on the front lines of reproductive access in New Mexico called a “public health emergency” during a press conference Friday afternoon. Farinaz Khan, a healthcare provider, said every abortion clinic in four states closed by Friday morning. “As women and people with uteruses, we are second class citizens in our own country. Our patients will be deeply harmed by this decision,” she said. Many during the press conference stressed that abortion is, and will remain, legal and safe in New Mexico.