Abortion Activists Try to Overturn New Mexico City Ordinance Protecting Unborn Babies

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 25, 2023   |   5:31PM   |   Edgewood, New Mexico

Pro-abortion activists are trying to overturn an Edgewood, New Mexico ordinance that protects unborn babies from abortion.

On Wednesday, local organizer Marcia Smith said they collected enough signatures on a petition to prompt a special election on repealing the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.

Smith said they needed 240 signatures and they submitted more than 400 to the county clerk’s office. The signatures must be verified as Edgewood voters before the ballot measure can be approved. If that happens, a special election will be held within 90 days, according to the report.

In April, Edgewood city leaders passed the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance in a 4-1 vote. The vote came after hours of public testimony, the majority being in favor of the pro-life ordinance.

New Mexico allows abortions for any reason up to birth, and state Democrat lawmakers have been working aggressively to expand abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. Gov. Michelle Grisham recently promised to spend $10 million of taxpayer’s money to build a new abortion facility near the Texas border. Texas laws protect unborn babies from abortion.

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But many rural communities in New Mexico support legal protections for babies in the womb, and four cities and two counties have passed ordinances to stop the abortion industry’s migration from Texas.

Edgewood is a small town near Albuquerque where there are numerous abortion facilities. Although its ordinance does not outlaw abortions directly, it protects unborn babies by requiring compliance with federal statutes – specifically the Comstock Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 1461–1462), which prohibits the mailing and receiving of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion paraphernalia.

The ordinance also allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against abortionists who violate the prohibition.

Last fall, the City of Hobbs passed the first pro-life ordinance in New Mexico after local residents learned that the Whole Women’s Health abortion chain wanted to move there. After the ordinance passed, the abortion chain abandoned its plans.

More recently, however, a state court blocked the Hobbs ordinance and similar measures passed by the city of Clovis and counties of Lea and Roosevelt. The court decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by the governor and state Attorney General Raul Torrez.

Meanwhile, another city, Eunice, New Mexico, which also passed a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance, filed its own lawsuit in April challenging the governor’s efforts to stop local governments from protecting unborn babies by requiring compliance with federal law.

“Abortion is not a savior. Abortion is a destroyer,” Eunice city councilwoman Erica Jones said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit. “Today is for all of the children in America: the born and the unborn. They too deserve to be loved, cared for and protected.”

Other cities across the country also are considering ordinances to protect unborn babies from abortion this year.

A growing grassroots movement is working to protect unborn babies at the local level. To-date, 67 cities in Texas, Ohio, Nebraska, Louisiana, Iowa, Illinois and New Mexico have passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that protect unborn babies by banning or restricting abortions and/or abortion facilities 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, at least 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, too, and the New Mexico county commissioners of Otero approved a resolution in July condemning the pro-abortion laws in their state.