[UPDATED] Session 2017 Recap: How Did Progress for Women Do?

UPDATE: Here’s how three important bills we were tracking ended up this session: (1) Health Coverage for Contraception (HB 284) – a bill aiming to expand contraceptive access by covering both women and men and requiring insurance companies to cover up to one year’s supply of contraception at once – passed the House and one Senate committee but wasn’t voted on by the whole Senate. (2) Hospital Patient Protections (SB 282) would have prevented New Mexico hospitals (often religious institutions) from blocking reproductive health care that could put a patient’s life or health in danger. It, however, was not voted on by the full Senate. (3) In a major win, the Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act (HB 179) passed both houses and now awaits action by the Governor. This important bill will ensure pregnant workers will be able to continue working and support their families while they are pregnant.

BIG WIN: Anti-Abortion Bill Defeated in the Roundhouse

One of three Draconian abortion bills was heard in the Roundhouse today and was precipitously and successfully struck down. The Forced Medical Intervention Act, otherwise known by the pro-life, radical right as the “Born Alive Bill,” was tabled the House Consumer and Public Affairs committee after a marathon hearing full of voices of doctors and women supporting their own right to make their own health care decisions. This misleading bill that would compromise the health and welfare of patients and would criminalize the work of medical providers. Similar bills had been introduced in previous sessions where sponsors made last-minute attempts to revive them from committees in the final days of the session. Did you know?

Two women’s health bills on the fast track this week

There are two reproductive health bills coming up this week that could impact women and their families in our communities. On Tuesday afternoon February 21, the Senate Public Affairs Committee will hear SB 282, the Put Patients First Act, which ensures that hospitals cannot practice religious refusal to withhold reproductive health services women. Then, on Friday, February 24 the Pregnant Worker Accommodation Bill, HB 179 is back for another round of hearings and testimony. It’s time to ensure that pregnant workers can continue to do their jobs and support their families by having access to reasonable accommodations for needs arising out of pregnancy. READ MORE: The Pregnant Worker Accommodation Bill (HB 179) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations to women who are pregnant and must adjust duties that may challenge their health and their pregnancy.”
Click here to view the legislative schedule.

The Best Song About Abortion You’ve Never Heard

It’s been a long but productive week for women’s healthcare in the New Mexico Legislature so we thought we’d celebrate with a song. With your support, the late-term abortion ban, SB 183 has perished in committee for another year, and both the pregnant worker protection bill, HB 179, and HB 284, the contraception coverage bill, move on to the Judiciary committee. Yeah! We’ll admit it’s not easy to find a catchy tune you can dance to that’s in favor of a woman’s right to healthcare and a safe and legal abortion. Go ahead, give it a shot.

12-Month Supply Contraception Bill Passes in the House

Another win for women: the Health Coverage for Contraception Bill (HB 284) sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong is on its way to the Judiciary Committee. The aim of the measure is to update the state’s existing law to ensure that the full range of contraceptive options is covered by insurance companies without out-of-pocket costs or medically unnecessary restrictions. The bill will improve access to contraception by covering access for both women and men by making it possible for them to acquire a year’s worth of their contraception with one prescription. READ MORE about today’s hearing at the NM Political Report. There are several reproductive bills to watch during the 2017 New Mexico Legislative Session, follow the progress by clicking here.

Take Action: Healthcare Coverage for Contraception Bill Needs your Support

[UPDATE: HB 284 is scheduled to go before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 27 at 1:30pm.]
You called, emailed your legislator, and you showed up in big numbers today and you helped DEFEAT an archaic bill. We thank you! But New Mexico women STILL need your support! On Wednesday morning at the Roundhouse, should HB 284 move forward in the House Health and Human Services Committee hearing, women across the state will advance the cause of consistent and reliable access to birth control. Eliminating the need to visit a pharmacy every 30 or 90 days to refill prescriptions, will reduce the chance of an unintended pregnancy.

Tell Senators to VOTE NO on SB 183

[UPDATE: We’re proud to say that due to your efforts, SB 183 has been killed in committee. THANK YOU for your show of support and your testimonies.]

We need you to take action on an abortion bill moving through the Roundhouse TOMORROW. On Tuesday, February 14, the Senate Public Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on SB 183 that threatens to ban women’s access to a safe and legal abortion later in the pregnancy. Each pregnancy is unique. A woman making the personal and complex decision about abortion later in pregnancy needs access to safe and legal health care without government interference.

Protection for Pregnant Working Women Passes, Moves to Judiciary Committee

A bill that makes it possible for pregnant women to continue to work through their pregnancies to support themselves and their families cleared its first hurdle by passing out of a state House committee last week. The Pregnant Worker Accommodation Bill (HB 179) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations to women who are pregnant and must adjust duties that may challenge their health and their pregnancy.” The bill, sponsored by Representatives Gail Chasey (D – Bernalillo), Deborah A. Armstrong (D – Bernalillo), and Joanne Ferrary (D – Doña Ana), sparked a lively debate between House Democrats and Republicans and was supported by impassioned testimonies on both sides of the aisle. The bill now moves on to the House Judiciary Committee. From the New Mexico Political Report:
“We’re trying to alert women and employers that women don’t need to necessarily quit their jobs or stay home if there’s a small accommodation made to keep working,” state Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque and sponsor of the legislation, said at the hearing.