Lawmakers are poised to debate another contentious topic halfway through an already-polarized legislative session. Thursday morning, the House Health Committee is scheduled to hear a bill aimed at addressing late-term abortions. Specifically, the measure would require emergency medical care for any infant born showing any sign of life, which would include breathing, a heartbeat, a pulse in an umbilical cord or muscle movement. Update: Public comment on the bill took so long that the committee delayed discussion and voting on the legislation until a future hearing. Story continues as originally written below.
RUBE RENDER is the Curry County Republican Chairman and a local columnist with the Clovis News Journal. In a recent edition of the “Journal of Medical Ethics” two Oxford University medical ethicists argue that “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”
This leads them to the conclusion that parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed, as ending their lives is no different than an abortion. Whenever some print media covers the abortion issue, they always put scare quotes around the “so called” partial-birth abortion. One reason they do this is that to call the killing of a fully formed baby in the birth canal what it actually is would be murder. Several states have passed legislation that bans abortion after 20 weeks and the New Mexico Legislature attempted it once again during its just-completed 60-day session.
Two pieces of legislation that would place restrictions on abortions passed a House committee after hours of debate on Friday. The measures will now head to the House floor. The House Judiciary Committee passed a ban on abortions for pregnancies at 20 weeks or more as well as a bill mandating notification of the parents of minors who seek an abortion. The controversial legislation passed on party-line votes, with Republicans voting to advance the measures and Democrats voting against them. The bill to ban late-term abortions was sponsored by Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo.