Against the backdrop of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, New Mexico — a state with some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country — took steps last week to become a destination for women seeking abortion by signing an executive order related to abortion access in the state.
Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, the issue of abortion is now back with the states. Some states have what are known as “trigger laws” that made the homicide of preborn children illegal or significantly limited as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned. In response, other states are attempting to become safe havens for abortion seekers. One of those states is New Mexico.
The state’s new executive order directs state employees to not aid in any civil or criminal investigations initiated by another state related to abortions that are legal in New Mexico. It also protects the licenses of abortionists who offer abortions that are legal in New Mexico but not in another state. It also limits interstate extradition for abortion-related issues.
“It means we will not cooperate for any criminalization or attempt at removing a license, or holding accountable a provider here who might be under national license or regional license [in respects to abortion],” New Mexico’s Gov. Lujan Grisham said Monday. “I will not be executing, if there were any, warrants or extradition for any provider related to this issue.”
In addition to the executive order, Gov. Grisham is supporting the expansion of abortion providers in the state and is even considering possible financial incentives.
To meet the anticipated increase of abortion seekers in the state, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has announced plans to expand its presence in the state. Currently, there are three Planned Parenthood locations in the state, which typically offer the abortion pill. There is only one location in Albuquerque offering surgical abortions. That may change, however, with Planned Parenthood’s expansion of services. In addition, the “Pink House” — Mississippi’s sole abortion facility — has announced its plans to relocate to Las Cruces, New Mexico.
In New Mexico, abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy. In 2021, the governor signed a bill repealing the state’s decades-old law outlawing abortion except in certain circumstances. The state has no major restrictions on abortion — not even waiting periods or mandated parental involvement.
While the overturning of Roe v. Wade marked a significant milestone in the pro-life movement, efforts at the state level to expand abortion access indicate the work of the pro-life movement is far from over.
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