Anti-abortion Extremists Exploit COVID-19, Harass Women & Endanger Lives

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.

Happy Birthday New Mexico, you beautiful Capricorn you

New Mexico was admitted into the United States on January 6, 1912, to become the 47th state in the Union. We sure do love A LOT about living here, but we also see some places we can keep improving to make New Mexico that much better in the years to come! THINGS WE LOVE: I love our food, the deep culture, and above all the way we protect and lead in reproductive justice. New Mexico has been ahead of the curve in changing the paradigm around this, and other states actually defer to our methods/policies! ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Creating better access and equity of care in our mental health and recovery infrastructures. Developing and implementing sustainable programs and training for whole health, cultural competency, and epigenetic traumas for caregivers/providers.

ProgressNow New Mexico adds new voice for Reproductive Justice

ProgressNow New Mexico is excited to announce the latest addition to our team, Erica Davis-Crump. She is our Reproductive Justice Organizer and Content Associate. Her focus will be to provide communities and partners all applicable updates, information, and awareness around reproductive justice issues in New Mexico! 

Erica is a lifelong resident of Albuquerque and utilizes lived experiences with reproductive health and other past experiences to work diligently and emphatically. She has specialty certifications in family wellness, mental health awareness, and suicide awareness and prevention. For the past seven years, she has provided training on Healthy Relationships, Mental Health Awareness, and Suicide Prevention in every county in New Mexico, to over 40,000 students and guardians.

#NMLEG WRAP UP

This year’s legislative session was a really intense roller coaster, to say the least, and we all took some time to rest and reflect together on why we do this important political work. ProgressNow New Mexico’s coverage hardly scratched the surface and I want to take a moment to fill you in. I will also give you some tips on how you can help fight back against dangerous rhetoric! Reproductive Health

Anti-abortion extremists were in full force, spreading misinformation and only harassing an Indigenous and queer person (me) over House Bill 51, not including legislators and their families. They regularly use tactics like harassing and stalking to intimidate activists, medical providers, and patients so this is just one of their many tactics.

Abortion Is Healthcare

Last night, HB 600, the Women’s “Health and Safety” Act, and HB 608, “Allow Refusal to Admit Patients For Abortion”, AKA “Let Doctors DISCRIMINATE Against Patients Seeking Routine Healthcare Procedures”, were both heard in House Consumer and Public Affairs. There was so much misinformation, vitriol, and microaggressive behavior, we don’t really know where to begin. For starters, I, Rachael Lorenzo, testified against HB 608 about my experience being denied care. It is despicable that any person must disclose traumatic medical history before the world to speak up against or for bills. My experience with being denied life-saving abortion care in an emergency setting while actively miscarrying at a New Mexico hospital could have left my daughter without a parent.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED- Permanently Protect Access to Abortion in NM

Yesterday, Representative Rod Montoya (R) presented HB 600- the “Women’s Health & Safety” Act- in the House Consumer and Public Affairs (HCPAC). Let’s be real- this is a nefarious move to limit access for women and young people when seeking reproductive healthcare. We heard a lot of really untrue, dangerous, and frankly, violent, rhetoric that we won’t justify here. What we will do is share the testimony of real, New Mexico families building trust and communication together and from providers who trust their patients to be active participants in their own care. Check out these tweets and Instagram stories of coverage from folks who respect New Mexico families’ private health decisions.

Respect NM Women Coalition Lobbies the Roundhouse

On February 14, 2019, Respect New Mexico Women, a coalition of organizations that work to protect abortion access from across the state, lobbied legislators in the House and Senate at the Roundhouse. We must say, it was beautiful to see true representation of our state show up to tell our elected leaders that we support access to abortion and that healthcare is not a crime! Folks from every corner of the state including Indigenous folks from various tribes and Asian families were in full force to let our elected officials know that we appreciate votes FOR HB 51- a bill to keep abortion safe and legal. It’s literally a page long so read it here. Check out these highlights of the Respect New Mexico Women Lobby Day!

Healthcare is NOT a crime- sign our petition NOW!

Healthcare is not a crime. But, all over the country, Republican-led state legislatures are working hard to criminalize pregnant people and doctors when it comes to abortion. In New Mexico, we can hold our own beliefs about abortion but respect that personal decision as something for our family members and neighbors to make for themselves. We keep our doors and hearts open to those around us and across the country- those whose access to safe and legal abortion is being stripped away. Join ProgressNow New Mexico as we work with our partners at the Respect New Mexico Women Coalition to repeal the outdated criminal statute in order to protect access to safe and legal abortion by signing on to our petition now- click here to sign.