House Bill 7 passes its final committee in the House of Representatives and heads to a full floor debate
SANTA FE – Today, the Respect NM Women and Families Act, House Bill 7, passed its final committee in the House of Representatives. The Respect NM Women and Families Act, a bill to repeal the 1969 abortion ban, passed the House Judiciary Committee on a party line vote with the eight Democratic members voting in favor of the bill and the four Republican members voting against.
House Bill 7, 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) would repeal a pre-Roe v. Wade statute from the 1960’s that criminalizes abortion in almost all circumstances that is currently on the books in New Mexico.
“At the core of our mission is ensuring survivors of sexual assault have access to services, justice, and healing. In alignment with our mission, we believe all New Mexicans should have access to care, including abortion care,” said Alexandria V. Taylor, Deputy Director of the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. “What people need during this time is love and support as they make their personal decision and reclaim their self agency. Reproductive justice is survivors’ justice and is also racial justice. We stand in support of the Respect NM Women and Families Act, House Bill 7.”
“It disturbs me to know that some decision makers only find me capable of making healthcare decisions for myself if I have been violated,” says Charlene Bencomo, Executive Director of Bold Futures. “Survivors of sexual assault already know what it is like to have their decision making powers taken from them, and we can do better than that. We should not have to endure violence to be deemed worthy of respect.”
“Since colonization, our indigenous women have been targeted by patriarchal policies that have taken away our autonomy,” said Krystal Curley, a community leader and Fellow with Forward Together Action from Chichiltah, in McKinley County. “Our women have been murdered, missing, and experienced, forced sterilization by the US government and IHS. To this day, my community experiences many barriers accessing abortion and reproductive healthcare. We need to repeal the 1969 abortion ban and ensure that women, pregnant people, and their families have the body soverignty to make their own decisions about abortion care.”
“Health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions,” said Sondra Roeuny, Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico. “New Mexico women, families, and communities deserve the highest quality care, including abortion care later in pregnancy. A patient’s personal health needs should be the focus of their care. It’s time to get rid of this dangerous ban.”
“These past couple of committees have been emotionally exhausting,” said Nicole Martin (Navajo, Laguna, Chiricahua Apache, Zuni) Co- founder and Sex Educator for Indigenous Women Rising. “I reflect on my ancestors who traveled to the State Capitol to advocate for themselves as Indigenous People and the land they care for. Sovereign is often a term associated with Indigenous communities. However, since the doctrine of discovery. Indigenous People and their communities do not have access to resources that will help them live healthy lives. The organization I am a part of, we are led by our traditions. Traditions that were in place long before state or federal governments. We believe and trust pregnant people are capable of making complex decisions.”
“Our faith traditions share deep respect for each individual’s moral agency.”, said Joan Lamunyon Sanford, Executive Director for the NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, “The Respect Women and Families Act will protect each individual’s right to care for their own body, health, and well-being according to their own religious or moral beliefs and conscience.”
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, or is weakened by the Supreme Court of the United States, this old aortion ban could quickly become enforceable again. The 1969 abortion ban would make abortion a felony, jeopardizing access to safe and legal care in New Mexico. Patients seeking abortion care would be forced to beg for permission from a panel of strangers. There is already a case aimed at weakening and overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark court case that legalized abortion in the US, in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case out of Mississippi will consider the state’s 15 week abortion ban.
House Bill 7 now heads to the House of Representatives chamber floor for a full debate. The Respect NM Women and Families Act has been highlighted as a priority for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Currently the Supreme Court of the United States has an anti-abortion majority, the repeal or weakening of Roe v Wade could soon become reality. It is of utmost importance that the New Mexico Legislature repeal the 1969 abortion ban from statute and safeguard abortion care access for all New Mexicans.
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 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.