Legislature approved two major reproductive, gender-affirming care bills

The Legislature passed two major reproductive rights bills this legislative session, one of which went to the governor’s desk in the final days. Both bills increase protections in the state for both reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming care. As of February 1, 2023, there are 17 states that have put some protections in place for abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham already signed HB 7, the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare Act, into law. It prohibits public bodies from discriminating against individuals seeking reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare. 

There are two towns, Clovis and Hobbs, and two counties, Lincoln and Roosevelt, that have passed ordinances that have placed barriers to clinics that provide abortions from obtaining a business license.

Bill to protect reproductive health care providers, patients heads to House floor

With just days left before the end of the 2023 Legislative Session, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill to protect reproductive health care providers and patients in New Mexico. 

The committee passed the bill on y a 6 to 2, party line vote. SB 13, sponsored by state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, appeared to stall earlier in the session but now heads the House floor. The bill must be heard and pass the House before 12 p.m. Saturday to reach Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk this year. The bill would, if enacted, protect both providers providing reproductive healthcare and patients seeking it in New Mexico. The bill would codify Lujan Grisham’s executive order last year so that the protections currently in place will remain so regardless of who is governor.

Bill to protect abortion patients and providers passes state Senate

The bill to protect abortion and gender-affirming providers and patients from out-of-state entities passed the state Senate by a 26-6 vote. SB 13, would codify Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order from last summer. The bill would protect both providers and patients seeking abortion care and gender-affirming healthcare from other states or individuals out of state who try to seek information about the patient or provider. State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, also a bill sponsor, said the bill will “ensure no one is criminalized for safe and legal healthcare.”

“It privileges certain healthcare information so patients and providers can go without fear of out-of-state criminal or civil liability,” she said. Related: First of two abortion right bills heads to Guv’s desk

Republicans argued that the bill is not constitutional, that it conflicts with both the U.S. Constitution and with the state’s constitution.

First of two abortion right bills heads to Guv’s desk

The first of two reproductive healthcare bills heard by  the Legislature this session is headed to the Governor’s desk after a House vote. She is expected to sign the bill. 

HB 7, Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare, sponsored by state Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe, passed the House previously but due to amendments added in the state Senate, it came back to the House for a concurrence vote on those amendments. Republicans asked a few questions during the House debate Friday night about who could be sued and why but it had little debate and passed by a vote of 39-29. The bill would bar any public body from discrimination against reproductive or gender-affirming care. This includes local governments who have already, or plan to, write ordinances to restrict abortion or gender-affirming care.

Abortion provider protection bill passes Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would protect providers and patients from out-of-state entities seeking information to harass or penalize for abortion by a vote of 7-to-1 Monday night. SB 13, Reproductive Healthcare Provider Protections, is sponsored by state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque. The bill would provide protections to abortion care providers and to patients from entities outside of the state trying to subpoena information or harass providers or patients involved in abortion care in New Mexico. The bill cosponsor, state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, brought a committee substitute for the bill which removed redundancies and brought clarifications around intentionality in the bill. The bill seeks to codify Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order put in place last year that currently protects abortion providers and patients seeking abortion from interference from out-of-state entities, a concern that increased after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and states across the country began passing anti-abortion laws. 

“This puts into law the policy we have that every person who receives reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming care can do so safely and free from harassment and that other states do not interfere,” Sedillo Lopez said.

Bill to protect reproductive, gender-affirming care patients and providers passes first committee hearing

A bill to protect abortion and gender-affirming care providers from out-of-state forces passed the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee by a 5-3 party vote on Wednesday. SB 13,  seeks to protect abortion providers and gender-affirming care providers in New Mexico from civil or criminal liability and from discrimination by licensing boards and from other states where reproductive care or gender-affirming care are not protected. State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, is the bill’s primary sponsor. This is the second of two reproductive rights bills introduced into the Legislature this session. The first one to go through committee hearings, HB 7, Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare, passed the House floor Tuesday evening by a vote of 38 to 31.

Guv joins other governors in reproductive alliance

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday that she is joining an alliance of governors to expand, strengthen and protect reproductive rights in the U.S. 

The alliance of 20 governors, called the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, is a multi-state, nonpartisan alliance representing over 170 million individuals, according to a news release. It is the largest alliance of its type ever assembled and the founding members have agreed to work collaboratively to expand reproductive rights and fight reproductive restrictions, according to the release. “I am proud to join with 19 fellow governors to protect the rights of every person to a full array of reproductive health services, including abortion. Those rights are fundamental, no matter which state you live in. This historic alliance will continue to work to guarantee reproductive freedom in each of our states and to restore that right to every woman in America,” Lujan Grisham said through the release.

Senate committee tables governor-backed bill altering pretrial detention system

The Santa Fe New Mexican

The Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee tabled a bill Wednesday that sought to keep defendants charged with certain violent crimes, including first-degree murder, behind bars without bond while they await trial. The committee voted 4-3 to table Senate Bill 123 amid concerns it is unconstitutional. The action likely means the measure won’t move forward during the session. A fiscal impact report on the bill stated “litigation regarding its constitutionality should be expected” if it were enacted as proposed. The report also estimated the measure could cost the state up to $15.3 million a year.

Legislators to push for two reproductive bills in a post-Roe world

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.

Police investigating after shots fired at Democratic politicians’ houses

In early December, two Bernalillo County Commissioners and a state senator’s homes were shot at. No injuries were reported. Another incident was reported Thursday at the off of a state senator. Albuquerque Police Department held a press conference Jan. 5 where Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina spoke about the incidents and provided some information about the ongoing investigation.