Pro-Life Attorneys Tell New Mexico Supreme Court: There’s No Right to Kill Babies in Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 11, 2023   |   11:57AM   |   Santa Fe, New Mexico

Pro-Life attorneys are fighting at the highest court in New Mexico to defend a county’s measure that banned abortions in the state that otherwise has aboriton on demand up to birth.

In an effort to protect mothers and their unborn children in New Mexico, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed an answer brief Wednesday on behalf of the Roosevelt County Board of Commissioners with the New Mexico Supreme Court. The brief makes it clear to the state court that there is no right to kill babies in abortions.

The brief urges the court to safeguard maternal health and unborn lives by refusing to find a new so-called right to abortion in the state’s constitution and by allowing Roosevelt County to comply with longstanding federal law that prohibits “the shipment of abortion instru­mentalities by mail or common carrier.”

Previously the high court temporarily blocked some local municipalities from enforcing their Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances after local citizens took action to protect unborn babies from abortion.

All five justices agreed to a request from state Attorney General Raúl Torrez, a Democrat, to block the pro-life ordinances while his constitutional challenge against them proceeds.

New Mexico allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth, and, last year, when Texas banned elective abortions, abortion businesses began eyeing cities on the state border as new locations. But many rural communities support legal protections for babies in the womb, and several passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances to stop the abortion industry’s migration.

“State and local governments have the strongest possible interest in protecting the most fundamental of our human rights—the right to life—and it’s clear the New Mexico Constitution does not contain a right to take innocent, unborn life,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “We urge the New Mexico Supreme Court to allow Roosevelt County, and other New Mexico localities, to enforce ordinances that comply with federal law and protect the lives of children and mothers.”

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After the counties approved the pro-life measures, the New Mexico attorney general bypassed ordinary litigation procedures and deployed an exceptional measure, an emergency mandamus petition, when he asked the state’s high court to find a new constitutional right to abortion without the benefit of any court’s prior review.

In February, ADF attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the New Mexico Supreme Court in the case, State of New Mexico v. Board of County Commissioners for Lea County, on behalf of three pro-life organizations: New Mexico Family Action Movement, Right to Life Committee of New Mexico, and New Mexico Alliance for Life. Roosevelt County subsequently retained ADF attorneys to represent the county in the case.

Unlike similar ordinances in other states, the ones in New Mexico do not outlaw abortion directly. Instead, they protect unborn babies by requiring compliance with federal abortion statutes – specifically 18 U.S.C. §§ 1461–1462, which prohibit the mailing and the receiving of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion paraphernalia within the city limits.

The City of Hobbs passed one such ordinance after local pro-lifers learned that the Whole Women’s Health abortion chain wanted to move there. The abortion chain eventually abandoned its plans and decided to open in Albuquerque instead.

The Hobbs ordinance now is blocked, as are those passed by the city of Clovis, and Lea and Roosevelt counties. The city of Eunice also passed an ordinance on the same day the lawsuit was filed, so it is not named in the lawsuit.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the attorney general’s office asked the court to “issue a stay, declare the ordinances void and prohibit local governments from their unconstitutional actions.” The order on Friday is temporary, and the court is expected to hear arguments about the constitutionality of the ordinances later this year.

Responding Friday, Torrez said the justices’ order “advances the fight to ensure that New Mexico remains a safe haven for women seeking reproductive healthcare.”

But the ordinances do not restrict reproductive health care. They simply require compliance with federal law. Killing unborn babies is not health care either; abortions occur after reproduction, and tens of thousands of doctors confirm killing unborn patients is not part of the medical practice.

Mark Lee Dickson, a director with Right to Life of East Texas and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative, helped the New Mexico cities and counties to pass their ordinances and continues to help others across the country do the same, especially in pro-abortion states.

“The end of Roe v. Wade (1973) did not end abortion in America,” Dickson wrote this week at LifeNews. “It merely returned the battle to the people and their representatives at every level of government: federal, state, county, and local. This makes the fight for the right to life as intense as it has ever been in America.”

However, New Mexico Democrat leaders have been working aggressively to expand the killing of unborn babies in abortions. Earlier this month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who supposedly is Catholic, signed a pro-abortion bill to stop more cities and counties from protecting unborn babies from abortion through ordinances.

Grisham also promised to spend $10 million of taxpayers’ money to build a new abortion facility near the Texas border. Texas laws protect unborn babies from abortion.

New Mexico has some of the most pro-abortion laws in the country. The state allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth and forces taxpayers to pay for their deaths.