Last week the US Supreme Court heard arguments challenging a law that targets abortion providers and clinics.
While the case (Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt) focuses around a Texas law (HB 2), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg used New Mexico as an example to expose the true agenda behind these absurd restrictions.
[**Hat tip to our friends at Progress Texas for the awesome Notorious RBG picture up top**]
New Mexico, you probably recall, has become a battleground as out-of-state extremists try to impose dangerous restrictions on reproductive health care. 2013 saw Albuquerque voters defeat a measure to outlaw certain abortions and many bills have been introduced in the legislature since then to restrict access (luckily, they’ve all been defeated).
The main force behind defeating the Albuquerque measure in 2013 was the Respect ABQ Women coalition. That coalition re-launched during this year’s legislative session as Respect NM Women.
To catch up on everything that happened in the HB 2 case last week — and to stay up-to-date on how you can help protect access in NM — head over to the Respect NM Women Facebook page
And here’s a brief recap of what’s at stake (from the NM Political Report):
The Texas law, known as HB2, requires all abortions be performed in hospital-like ambulatory surgical centers and that all facilities that practice surgical abortions have admitting privileges to a hospital located within 30 miles. Twenty-two of Texas’ 41 abortion clinics have closed since the state passed HB2 in 2013. Aside from El Paso, no abortion clinics currently operate in the entire western half of the country’s second-largest state.
Because of this, many abortion rights advocates argue that HB2 has already impacted New Mexico and that a U.S. Supreme Court decision to keep the law could create a new precedent.
“If this law is upheld by Supreme Court, we know that more people in our opposition will have the political capital to continue to introduce restrictions like this in other states, and New Mexico is no different,” Tannia Esparza, executive director of Young Women United, which supports abortion rights, said in an interview.
A woman’s ability to obtain affordable abortion care shouldn’t depend on zip code, insurance, or income. Justice Ginsburg made it crystal clear that these deceptive measures have nothing to do with protecting women’s health and safety and everything to do with making this critical access to healthcare out of women’s reach.
Here’s how Justice Ginsburg mentioned New Mexico to make her point during oral arguments last week:
New Mexicans understand that a woman and her family need access to a full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion.
While other states continue to enact laws that restrict access to abortion, New Mexico remains a place where women from our communities and across the country can access the safe and legal healthcare our families need.