Legislation to remove the 1969 abortion ban clears its last committee in the New Mexico Senate
SANTA FE – Today, Senate Bill 10, the Respect NM Women and Families Act, passed its final committee in the New Mexico Senate. This legislation 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.
Outdated and dangerously restrictive laws such as the 1969 abortion ban take complex, personal decisions away from New Mexicans and restrict access to safe abortion care. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, or is weakened by the Supreme Court of the United States, this old abortion ban could quickly become enforceable again.
“As a young chicana woman, it is important to me that all New Mexicans are given the respect they deserve through the safe access of all reproductive health options,” said Isabella Baker, Field Organizer for Forward Together Action. “I know that we can hold our own moral views about abortion and still trust other people to make their own personal decisions about their healthcare. As a person of faith, it is because of my faith and the compassion and love I am taught through my faith that I support New Mexicans and their right to make their own personal decisions about abortion.”
The 1969 abortion ban would force patients seeking abortion care to beg for permission from a panel of strangers. The old abortion ban would also make abortion a felony, jeopardizing access to safe and legal care in New Mexico.
“Passing this bill means taking one step closer to creating a world where we trust individuals, all individuals regardless of their gender, or sexual orientation, to know what’s best for themselves and their families,” said Marshall Martinez, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico. “Queer and trans New Mexicans, all New Mexicans, deserve to make our own health care decisions with our families, IN our faith, without the interference of our government.”
The Respect NM Women and Families Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque) and Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe), was passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote with all six of the Democratic members of the committee voting in favor, and with the three Republican members voting against.
“We’re relieved members of the Senate Judiciary Committee recognized the importance of getting this dangerous and antiquated abortion ban off our law books,” said Ellie Rushforth, reproductive rights counsel for the ACLU of New Mexico. “As it heads to the floor for a full vote, we’re counting on legislators to do right by New Mexican families, and pass this bill, without amendment, to ensure that pregnant people can continue to make their own reproductive health decisions.”
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 a matter of paramount importance that the New Mexico Legislature repeal the 1969 abortion ban from statute and safeguard abortion care in our state. 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.
The Respect NM Women and Families Act has been highlighted as a priority for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham this legislative session. Senate Bill 10 now heads to the Senate chamber floor for consideration and a full debate.