A radical pro-abortion bill that would keep abortions up to birth legal and end conscience protections for pro-life medical workers advanced in the New Mexico Senate on Monday.
According to the Los Alamos Reporter, the state Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee passed Senate Bill 10 in a 5-3 party-line vote. It now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Sponsored by state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Bernalillo, the pro-abortion legislation would repeal a 1969 statute that prohibits abortions except in cases of rape, incest or threats to the mother’s life. The statute is not in effect because of Roe v. Wade, but if the legislature repeals it, the state would continue to allow unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth even if Roe is overturned.
The bill also would repeal the only conscience protections for pro-life medical workers in the state. Currently, the law protects doctors, nurses and other medical workers from discrimination if they refuse to abort an unborn baby based on “moral or religious grounds.”
Without that protection, state Sen. Gregg Schmedes, R- Sandoval, warned that doctors may leave the state.
“Though some of the existing law is unenforceable because of Roe v. Wade, this statute contains important provisions that protect our doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals,” Schmedes said at the hearing, according to the local news. “As a medical doctor, I have heard from many of my colleagues that if they lose these vital conscience protections, they will consider leaving the state which would threaten healthcare access for many New Mexicans.”
Other pro-lifers who spoke out at the hearing included state Sen. Crystal Diamond, R-Dona Ana, according to the report. She told her fellow lawmakers that the bill could lead to dangerous outcomes for women and girls.
“In addition to keeping the conscience clause intact, we should be working to strengthen, not weaken standards of care for women,” Diamond said. “The thought that a non-physician would be allowed to perform a dangerous, late-term abortion on a minor child without any parental knowledge is unconscionable. That is the type of scenario we are exposing women to if this bill passes.”
KRQE News reports pro-lifers protested outside the state Roundhouse prior to the hearing, urging lawmakers to keep protections in place for unborn babies, mothers and medical workers.
Polls consistently show that most Americans oppose what the bill would do: allow unborn babies to be aborted without limits up to birth, force taxpayers to fund abortions, end conscience protections for medical workers and allow abortion facilities to operate with little accountability.
However, state Democrat lawmakers insist that the legislation is necessary because the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade.
“As long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, there was no need to go back and deal with language in our laws that prohibited abortion,” state Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said in a recent interview. “But now that there is a very real possibility that attempts will be made to overturn Roe v. Wade at the federal level, it does make it urgent that we deal with it locally in a way that would preserve that right to choice.”
The AP predicts the bill will pass after 25 of the 42 state senators signed on as co-sponsors. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a pro-abortion Democrat, also supports it.
But pro-lifers are not giving up hope. Elisa Martinez, executive director of the New Mexico Alliance for Life, urged people to call their lawmakers and urge them to reject the bill.
“The radical abortion lobby seeks to force medical professionals across New Mexico to perform abortions as a matter of ‘access.’ This is not a pro-woman bill but rather, a pro-abortion lobby bill,” Martinez said.
In 2019, a bipartisan group of lawmakers defeated a similar pro-abortion bill in the state Senate. However, many of the Democrat lawmakers who voted against it no longer serve in the legislature, according to the report.
The bill is similar to laws that passed recently in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. New Jersey also is considering a bill to expand the killing of unborn babies in abortions this year.