U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, creating public health emergency

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.

New Mexico legislators meet with White House officials over abortion

With the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Healthcare a few weeks away, White House officials held a conference call with New Mexico legislators and others about the impending reproductive healthcare crisis. House Majority Leader Javier Martinez of Albuquerque, state Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena of Mesilla and state Sen. Shannon Pinto of Tohatchi, all Democrats, participated in the call with White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein and  White House Intergovernmental Affairs Director Julie Chavez Rodriguez earlier this week. After the Texas six-week gestational ban went into effect last September, some clinics in New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada experienced a 500 percent increase in patients, according to the White House statement. Martinez told NM Political Report that specific policy issues did not come up during the call but said that “we talked about making sure we will provide access to reproductive health services.”

“New Mexico stands with women and New Mexico respects reproductive justice and it will be a beacon of hope for women across the country. It is our responsibility as state legislators to make sure it happens,” he said.

U.S. Senators ask Biden to take executive action on abortion

A group of 25 senators, including Sen. Martin Heinrich, signed a letter to President Joe Biden this week urging him to take executive action to defend reproductive rights across the U.S.

The letter urges Biden to issue an executive order to direct the federal government to develop a national plan. The letter expresses urgency due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s likely plan to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer when it issues the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. The letter says that Biden has the “unique power to marshal the resources of the entire federal government to respond.”

The letter asks that Biden consider expanding access to medication abortion, provide vouchers for travel and childcare for individuals who must travel to other states for abortion care, establish a reproductive health ombudsman to gather and disseminate accurate reproductive information, guarantee Medicaid coverage for all family planning service clinics and clarify protections on sensitive information such as data gathered by some phone applications. The letter also encourages Biden to consider allowing abortion care on federal property, particularly in states where it will be restricted. Earlier this week Vice President Kamala Harris addressed a roundtable of faith leaders in Los Angeles and discussed, among other things, the need to protect reproductive rights.

Former Las Cruces City Councilor Vasquez wins CD2 Democratic nomination

The Associated Press has called former Las Cruces City Councilor Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez the winner of the Democratic primary election for the 2nd Congressional District nomination, defeating Dr. Darshan Patel, of Lea County. On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell did not face a primary opponent. Vasquez will now run against Herrell in November. Herrell defeated Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in 2020 in one of the most contested, and most expensive, House of Representative seat races in the country. Democrats consider the 2nd Congressional District a race that is in play.

Abortion opponents take political risks by dropping exceptions for rape, incest, and the mother’s life

If it seems as though the anti-abortion movement has gotten more extreme in recent months, that’s because it has. But it’s not the first time — positions taken by both sides of the abortion debate have ebbed and flowed repeatedly in the 49 years since the Supreme Court declared abortion a constitutional right. Abortion opponents and those supporting abortion rights expect the Supreme Court to soon overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and both groups have reacted strongly. Abortion rights supporters unsuccessfully pushed Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would not only codify abortion rights but also eliminate lots of popular restrictions the court has allowed since 1973, most notably parental involvement laws. But it’s abortion opponents’ efforts in many conservative states to exclude most exceptions — for rape or incest or to save the life of the mother — that have drawn headlines recently.

What the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization means for the LGBTQ community 

Expansions in the Violence Against Women Act, signed by President Joe Biden this spring, recognize the LGBTQ community for the first time. Initially enacted in 1994, VAWA improves responses to gender-based violence through federal dollars to various state and local programs and agencies, including the courts. Congress last reauthorized the legislation in 2013. This spring, Biden signed the 2022 reauthorization, which is expected to help with such issues as sex trafficking, missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives, sexual assault and housing and it expands programming to include the LGBTQ community for the first time. Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico, called the inclusion in VAWA funding “a big victory.”

“The first thing that is important to know is this is the first time LGBTQ folks specifically are included in VAWA.

U.S. Supreme Court Samuel Alito’s history of abortion differs from historians and Indigenous reproductive leaders 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito provided a history of abortion rights in the U.S. in his draft opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. His narrative, aimed at why the medical procedure should no longer have federal protection, focused on states making the medical practice illegal in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But both Indigenous people and historians have a more nuanced narrative. Alito noted when each state in the U.S. codified laws regulating abortion. New Mexico outlawed the procedure in 1919.

What the Supreme Court abortion draft opinion means for Indigenous people

Earlier this spring, the need for financial assistance to obtain an abortion caused abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising to take a break so the grassroots organization could “catch up” financially. The need was “so intense” IWR almost ran out of money, Rachel Lorenzo (Mescalero Apache/Laguna Pueblo/Xicana), co-founder of IWR, said. Lorenzo, who uses they/them pronouns, said that the group is still on break. But when IWR returns to funding abortion patients later this month, the organization will return to its original mission of providing abortion care funding to Indigenous individuals. Last year, in response to the Texas “vigilante” law that prohibits abortion in that state after six weeks, IWR broadened its funding to include undocumented individuals.

Student group at New Mexico State University responds to U.S. Supreme Court draft decision

Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft document that, once leaked in early May, revealed the court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a new student group at New Mexico State University is taking shape. The U.S. Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last December. The state of Mississippi passed a 15-week gestational ban in 2018 and has asked the high court to consider overturning Roe v. Wade in its decision. The draft decision, leaked to Politico and released in early May, has led to protests and Democrats in the U.S. Senate making a second attempt this year to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. Dan Vargo, a graduate student at NMSU, initiated a call to fellow graduate students shortly after Politico released the court’s draft document.

What the court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade could mean to New Mexico’s LGBTQIA+ community

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, as is now expected this summer, the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community will be thrown into jeopardy, advocates believe. In the leaked draft opinion that reveals the Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito attacked the court’s arguments written into the Roe v. Wade decision affirming the right to abortion. He also took aim at Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed Roe. Roe v. Wade rests on the argument that individuals have a right to privacy and that the right can be found in the 14th Amendment and in other amendments. Subsequent rulings that effect LGBTQIA+ rights, such as Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision granting the right to same sex marriage, rests on a similar argument.