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.
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.
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.