*This morning (5/14) we were contacted by candidate Adrian Carver to change a portion of this story. Carver pointed out that his offense was civil, not criminal. While we have changed the error, we are once again disappointed in Carver for his double-down attempt to re-criminalize his opponent instead of acknowledging and reflecting on his own hypocritical and racist actions. As a progressive organization, we’ve always taken a lead on calling out racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Usually, it’s directed at conservative political players.
Earlier this year, Donald Trump announced that New Mexico was going to be a priority target state for his campaign in 2020. It was only a matter of time before we could expect well-connected out-of-state interests to meddle in our elections like they have been doing in other states across the nation. Enter the operatives: True the Vote and the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) are two shady, out-of-state political shops that pride themselves on suppressing votes for conservative gain. And they’re coordinating to suppress the vote here in New Mexico by instituting barriers at every step of the process.
True the Vote funds lawsuits to purge voter rolls and suppress mail-in ballot efforts while PILF acts as the right-wing legal accomplice that, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, often uses false information to justify their lawsuits. And it doesn’t stop there.
It’s hard to miss: social media posts, newspaper articles, TV news segments, emails, text messages, billboards… all directing residents to stay at home unless essential services are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. So why are anti-abortion extremists in New Mexico (and nationally) still gathering in front of medical facilities to harass women who are seeking reproductive care?
Extremists like Right to Life New Mexico, 40 Days for Life New Mexico, the Sidewalk Advocates for Life and Abortion Free New Mexico mock the severity of the COVID-19 global pandemic with their actions which, ironically, endanger their own lives and the lives of their members, in addition to clinic patients. Amid this global pandemic, these groups are seen gathering to harass women who are seeking abortion and other forms of reproductive healthcare at local clinics.
To the detriment of their members, these extremist groups are deliberately misleading their followers, spreading dangerously false information that “we’re close to a cure” for COVID-19 (See graphic below), endangering the lives of their members, the families that live with them and the public they subsequently interact with. The apparent “right to life” groups seem to have a blatant disregard for the living.
It’s no surprise that extremist marching orders seem to be coming from Donald Trump, who, despite his own advisors warning the public about the severity of the pandemic, continues a drumbeat that underplays the severity of the outbreak here in the United States.
But anti-abortion groups are no stranger to blocking access to healthcare, no matter the cost to human lives. Alongside a history of violence and bombings at abortion clinics, the exploitation of COVID-19 is one of the many disgusting and opportunistic actions this “movement” has engaged in- from the national level, all the way down to our neighborhoods.
In case you missed it, here are some more recent examples:
At the national level, anti-abortion lawmakers snuck dangerous anti-abortion language into the coronavirus bill.In several states across the U.S. anti-abortion lawmakers have deemed abortion as non-essential, endangering the lives of women across their state who are seeking medical care.
By Erica Davis-Crump, ProgressNow NM Reproductive Justice Organizing & Content Associate
This week, hundreds of New Mexicans showed up to continue the stand for abortion access and reproductive justice. Respect New Mexico Women Coalition led the charge to help families find their lawmakers to make sure their voices were heard. The pressure is on New Mexico lawmakers to keep abortion safe and legal in our state, as the potential gutting of Roe. v Wade hangs in the balance within the coming months.
Generations of families and women’s healthcare supporters flooded the roundhouse despite the snowy and icy weather conditions. (The epitome of “… but nevertheless, she persisted.”) There is usually angst and animosity on rally/lobby days for the anti-abortion extremists.
It was an event that had been publicized for months- the Republican Party partnered with Cowboys for Trump (the GOP mouthpiece for their disgraced presidential candidate) to tout their “conservative unity” rally. It was meant to bring together anti-abortion extremists, gun extremists, and anyone from anti-vaxxers to the anti-taxers. The reality of the event? GOP staffers, a few speakers and a handful of horses. The GOP-organized event was a flop; most people inside the Roundhouse didn’t even know it was happening.
For any one of us who has been a survivor of rape, molestation, sexual harassment or domestic violence, we have been told over and over that these forms of abuse take place because the abuser wants to assert power and control over our bodies. Across the United States, there is an epidemic of politicians, governments and extremists who are trying to assert power and control over our bodies by means of banning abortion- a personal decision that should always remain between a person and their doctor. By taking away our personal decision-making abilities, we are being stripped of respect, and being stripped of autonomy. Anti-abortion extremists spend millions of dollars to shame, pressure, punish and harass us- proving that their interest is not about morals or religion: it’s about power and control. New Mexico has an old abortion ban on the books.
Tuesday night was another HUGE night for female candidates, public schools and progressive values up and down New Mexico ballots! Are you confused about ranked-choice races and races that resulted in a run-off? No worries! We’re here to give you the scoop on top races we watched. It’s time for an election rundown!
Sometimes, finding all the voting information you need in one place is hard! Look no further, friends! ProgressNow NM is here for you every step of the way- from early voting and same-day registration to Election Day and voting locations. See below for a one-and-done guide to getting your vote on! Important Dates (Statewide)
October 8- Absentee Ballots MailedOctober 8- November 2- Statewide in-person registration and early voting at County Clerk’s Offices, 8am-5pm.October 19-November 2- Statewide expanded early voting.
Some elected officials hold town halls to listen to constituents. Some send out surveys and others hold gatherings at parks or churches.
In New Mexico, however, some elected officials and community leaders choose to get their marching orders from corporations with extreme Right Wing agendas.
Enter ALEC: The American Legislative Exchange Council. If you haven’t heard of this group before, you may have seen some of their policies either at the Roundhouse here in New Mexico or at the national level. They’re a Washington-D.C.-based, corporate-sponsored “think tank” that basically believes our society should be run like Gilead- see Handmaid’s Tale for reference, or, click here for a list of their bills. (Spoiler alert: abortion bans, “Right-to-Work” laws, privatization of public schools, voter suppression, climate change denial, etc.)
A couple of weeks ago, ALEC held their conference in Austin, Texas.