With Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice, abortion advocates are panicking that the end of Roe v. Wade is imminent. In New Mexico, pro-abortion lawmakers are taking action to protect women’s ability to undergo abortions, just in case Roe is overturned.
New Mexico State Representative Joanne Ferrary is leading the fight to overturn the state’s abortion ban, which was put into place in 1969, before Roe. The statute makes it a felony for an abortionist to commit an abortion, except in cases of rape, birth defects, or a threat to the mother’s life.
READ: New Mexico taxpayers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for abortions
When Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, however, abortion became legal nationwide, and the state statute was unenforceable. And since then, New Mexico has gone on to have some of the most liberal abortion laws in the country, with abortion permitted through all nine months of pregnancy for various reasons — and without parental notification. Overturning the statute would officially protect abortion in New Mexico if Roe v. Wade was overturned, as this would not make abortion illegal, but merely return the legalization of abortion back to the states.
Democratic Governor-Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham, Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf, and Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth all support the repeal, and have said it is a high priority for the legislation session beginning in January. “I’ve long been on the record that it is an antiquated law intended to punish women, whose reproductive choices should be between their physician or medical practitioner and themselves,” Grisham said. “If the bill gets through — and I feel strongly that it will – that would be something we would sign.”
Republicans, however, are intending to fight the measure, despite their minority status in the state legislature. “The big problem we have with that is it does away with conscience clauses for doctors that have moral disagreements with performing abortions,” House Minority Whip Rod Montoya said. “I think there will still be a fight.”
While whether or not Roe v. Wade will be overturned still remains to be seen, chances are better now than ever before, which is exactly why abortion activists are scared. In New Mexico, at least, it appears that abortion may unfortunately continue to be inflicted upon women and their preborn children, even if it is no longer legal nationwide.