New Mexico City Introduces Measure to Protect Unborn Babies

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 22, 2022   |   9:10AM   |   Clovis, New Mexico

Leaders of the New Mexico border town of Clovis plan to vote on a pro-life ordinance next month to protect their community from becoming an “abortion destination.”

New Mexico allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth, but the bordering state of Texas protects unborn babies by banning abortions. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Texas abortion groups have been eyeing New Mexico border towns as potential new locations for abortion facilities.

Mayor Mike Morris said most Clovis residents do not want an abortion facility in their town, KRQE News 13 reports.

“Obviously, being legal in the state of New Mexico, but having been banned in Texas, the concerns on the part of the public here are that Clovis could potentially become this abortion destination,” Morris said Thursday at a city commission meeting. “And folks in Clovis are and by large pro-life. So that concerns them at a very high, high level.”

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During the meeting, the city commission introduced an ordinance that would prevent abortion facilities from secretly opening in Clovis and prohibit abortion drugs and devices from being distributed through the mail.

The proposed ordinance would require abortion facilities to obtain a special license from the city before opening, and allow the city to revoke the license if facility violates federal law. If it passes, the ordinance would go into effect immediately.

Morris said the city commission likely will vote on the proposal Nov. 3.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the ordinance drew a huge crowd to the meeting Thursday, including Mike Seibel, a pro-life attorney in the state who has represented more than 15 women who were injured in botched abortions and one who died.

“How many people are going to die? Not only the babies but the women,” Seibel told the commissioners. “… This industry is dangerous. Don’t believe what’s going on? Just read what’s going on in Albuquerque. Abortions in hotel rooms, traffickers coming to your neighborhood. You don’t want this in your city.”

However, pro-abortion political leaders and activists quickly criticized city leaders for even considering the pro-life ordinance. A spokeswoman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is running for re-election, called the measure an “affront to the rights and personal autonomy of every woman in Clovis,” according to the Journal.

The ACLU of New Mexico hinted that it may sue the city if the ordinance passes.

“The reality is these anti-abortion clinic ordinances make dubious legal claims that expose the city and its citizens to potentially significant liability,” ACLU attorney Ellie Rushforth said. “Despite efforts to restrict access to health care, let us be clear – abortion remains safe and legal in New Mexico.”

However, other ordinances that ban the killing of unborn babies in abortions have withstood legal challenges.

In 2021, voters in Lubbock, Texas overwhelmingly approved a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance on the ballot, and Planned Parenthood was forced to stop aborting unborn babies there. The abortion chain challenged the ordinance, but a judge threw out its lawsuit later that year. Then, in January, Planned Parenthood decided to drop its lawsuit completely in a major victory for life.

In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped another lawsuit challenging several Texas cities’ pro-life ordinances.

A growing grassroots movement is working to protect unborn babies at the local level. To date, 51 cities in Texas, Ohio and Nebraska have passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that protect unborn babies by banning abortions within city limits.

Other cities and counties have passed pro-life resolutions, which are statements of support but not enforceable law, that recognize unborn babies’ right to life. In Arkansas, 19 counties and 10 cities and towns have passed pro-life resolutions, according to Family Council of Arkansas. Several North Carolina counties passed pro-life resolutions recently, too.