Senate Bill 10, historic legislation to repeal the 1969 abortion ban, has been signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
SANTA FE – Today, the Respect NM Women and Families Act, Senate Bill 10, was signed into law by New Mexico’s 32nd governor, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The historic legislation, now law, was sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque), Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe), and co-sponsored by Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena (D-Mesilla), Rep. Joanne Ferrary (D-Las Cruces), Rep. Georgene Louis (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Speaker of the House of Representatives Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe).
The Respect NM Women and Families Act repealed a pre-Roe v. Wade statute from the 1960’s that was still on the law books in New Mexico. The statute that was repealed, referred to as the 1969 abortion ban, criminalized abortion care in almost all circumstances. The signing of this historic law comes at a time where legislatures across 30 states in the nation are attempting to restrict or harshly limit abortion care access. As of last week, over 200 pieces of anti-abortion legislation have been introduced this year alone and are currently moving in legislatures across the United States.
“Today we made history,” said Nicole Martin (Navajo, Laguna Pueblo, Chiricahua Apache, and Zuni Pueblo) Co-founder and Sex Educator for Indigenous Women Rising. “Repealing antiquated laws to reflect the time and space we live in now, was long overdue. The biggest moment for me was witnessing Representative Roybal Caballero share their story. They were a nurses aid and had to help patients navigate access to abortion care, pre Roe v Wade. I was honored to hear how their past came full circle and they had a vote to repeal these dangerous statutes. This commitment, protecting abortion access, began before I was born. As co-chair for Coalition for Choice I would be ignorant to not recognize all the hard work and dedication community members exhibited all these years. I’m grateful that during these times of uncertainty and Zoom meetings that I could be a part of this effort. This work is dedicated to the future generations.”
“Thirty years ago, I was told that my wanted pregnancy had complications. The respect I was given by my doctor and my family to make the decision to continue that pregnancy is why I have been speaking out in support of the Respect NM Women and Families Act,” said Noreen Kelly, a Diné Elder and community leader from McKinley County, and a Fellow with Forward Together Action. “Women need to be able to make their own decision about what’s best for them and their families, and doctors need to be able to provide safe and legal abortion care. I applaud our Governor and our Legislature for helping us repeal the 1969 abortion ban once and for all. It is particularly important to me that Native Women, like me, can make their own decisions. The future of our communities depends on our ability to determine our own destinies.”
A huge part of this victory is thanks to the collaboration and advocacy of the Respect NM Women and Families Act’s lead sponsors; Senate Majority Whip Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque), and Representative Micaela Lara Cadena (D-Mesilla), who both argued for and defended the bill while confronted with misogynistic, discriminatory arguments, and purposeful mistruths during the legislative process. At the heart of this historic signing are years of persistence from community advocates, leaders, and organizations from across New Mexico who have tirelessly worked to remove the 1969 abortion ban since 2017, when this legislation was originally introduced. The repeal of the 1969 abortion ban is direct evidence of what is possible when people, especially Black, Indigenous, women of color are centered in the work towards reproductive justice.
“I have been advocating for the passage of the Respect NM Women and Families Act on behalf of my mother. She was a devout Catholic and a mother of seven, over forty years ago having an abortion was not something she had ever considered, but did so because it was the right decision for her and our family,” said Socorro Linden a local community leader from Doña Ana County, and a Fellow with Forward Together Action. “It is not my place—nor the place of the government—to make those decisions for women, or to judge them for the decisions they make. With the signing of this bill into law, our Governor and our Legislators have sent a clear message to the people of our state that they too trust New Mexico women and their families to make the decisions that are right for them.”
With the removal of the 1969 abortion ban from New Mexico’s law books, access to abortion care will remain safe and legal across our state, regardless of any rulings aimed at weakening or repealing Roe v Wade — the landmark ruling that legalized abortion care across the nation–by the Supreme Court of the United States.
The historic signing of the Respect NM Women and Families Act by Governor Lujan Grisham does not make any changes to the current rules and regulations that govern abortion care in New Mexico, nor to the standards that medical providers are held to or the refusals that they are permitted. This law simply removes a 52 year-old punitive and discriminatory abortion ban from the law books — it does not change or expand current abortion care or access in our state.
“This historic moment was possible thanks to so many activists, community leaders, elected champions, and individuals who made their voices heard and demanded that our human rights be respected and celebrated,” said Sondra Roeuny, Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico. “The passage of the Respect New Mexico Women and Families Act is an example of the progress we can make working together toward the future we all – patients, providers, families, and communities – deserve. I’m so proud of what we’ve done together, and grateful for every single individual who worked tirelessly for this victory.”
This victory comes at a pivotal moment for New Mexico as abortion care continues to be attacked by legislatures and courts across the country. After the last presidential administration stacked the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, the nation’s highest court now has an anti-abortion majority. There is already a case aimed at weakening and overturning Roe v. Wade in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case out of Mississippi which will consider the state’s 15-week abortion ban.
The Respect NM Women coalition applauds Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for signing the Respect NM Women and Families Act into law, and continuing to be a champion for reproductive healthcare for all people and families across the land of enchantment.
Respect New Mexico Women is a movement of women, families, faith leaders, medical providers, and community-based organizations united in support of New Mexico women and their reproductive health decisions. Members of Respect New Mexico Women are the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, Bold Futures, Equality New Mexico (EQNM), Girls Inc. of Santa Fe, Indigenous Women Rising, Las Cruces Coalition for Reproductive Justice, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Albuquerque Chapter, National Organization for Women (NOW) New Mexico chapter, NOW Santa Fe chapter, NOW Albuquerque chapter, New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, New Mexico Women’s Agenda, Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico, ProgressNow New Mexico, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Strong Families New Mexico, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Tewa Women United, and Whole Woman’s Health.