The three anti-abortion bills we told you were headed to the Roundhouse last week have been all but defeated, thanks to your swift action, true testimonies, and declarations of support for New Mexico women and their families.
HB 37 (“Born Alive), HB 220 (20-week Abortion Ban) and HB 221 (Abortion by Parental Consent) have all be tabled for the 2017 New Mexico Legislative Session, ensuring that the reproductive choices of New Mexico women, their privacy, a woman’s right to decide will remain intact until they are again challenged by the religious right, and they will be.
Here’s a short summary of how things unfolded this week:
HB 37, the Forced Medical Intervention Act, otherwise known by the pro-life, radical right as the “Born Alive Bill,” would have blocked women, their families, and their healthcare providers from making personalized medical decisions. This bill was tabled in the Judiciary House & Human Affairs committee on Thursday, March 2 in the afternoon having been postponed and rescheduled twice. After grueling 6+ hours of testimony, the bill was defeated, also causing the other two bills that were planned to be heard in the same committee to roll over to the next available date.
On Sunday, after a religious ceremony was held in the Rotunda of the Roundhouse the attendees of the service entered the gallery, met by an equally passionate group of Planned Parenthood, Young Women United, ACLU, and of course, all of you ProgressNow Rapid Responders. We needed you, and you were there.
There were times when the hearing for HB 220 or Partial and Late-Term Abortion Bill, would have BANNED and criminalized abortions later in a pregnancy under any and every circumstance, whether the life of the mother is in danger, or the fetus is no longer viable became caustic. At one point, during cheers from the religious right, Chairman Eliseo Alcon to call the gallery to order when pro-lifers defied his order to remain silent and calm. Even some of PNNM’s most abusive trolls attacked us online DURING the proceedings. We will not be deterred.
The gallery slowly began to thin out as the final bill was heard. The Forced Parental Notification Bill that would have punished young families and would have denied them the right to make decisions about their reproduction choices with their health care provider was tabled, like the others, and with good reason: none of these bills were devised to support the health care decisions of New Mexico women. Reason and science won over bullying, online racist threats, legislators acting out, and prayer work conducted in a government building.
Building our Rapid Response base helped our partners get through these hearings – thank you for lending your voice. Your 700 letters of support were delivered (well, 699 – one was intentionally and with force, balled up and thrown to the floor during a testimony. Sorry about that)!
While we are coming to an end of the legislative session, the fight (and the comradery) is not over. There are still a few weeks left in the session where anything could happen. We’re also planning events that will allow us all to stay connected and engaged as we champion the rights of New Mexico women throughout the State.