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. But on Respect New Mexico Women’s lobby day, advocates and supporters of abortion access brought respect and kindness in tow with their gratitude for champions and called for accountability with backsliders. Some elders recalled their own experiences with abortion access, stating with conviction “WE. CAN. NOT. GO. BACK.” In silent statements of solidarity, supporters of abortion access marched through the house and senate galleries with their right fist raised. An image no one will soon forget.
The chilling reality of what could become certain for New Mexican women, was worth facing the chill of one of the coldest days at the Roundhouse. New Mexico women face the issue of having an old abortion ban on the books- a ban that could become law if Roe is overturned or gutted. The old abortion ban requires that women–including survivors of rape and incest–at any stage of pregnancy, would have to beg for permission to have an abortion in front of a panel of strangers. Additionally, any person who performs or receives an abortion would be charged with a felony. Currently, a handful of Senators are obstructing the introduction of a bill to repeal the old abortion ban.
At a fundraiser last week, remarks from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham spurred many to action when she stated: The second we have the votes in the senate, that antiquated, absolutely outrageous law is gone. Community advocates saw this as an opportunity to talk with their legislators, seeking accountability and pushing legislators to publicly commit to keeping abortion access safe and legal. Many conversations referenced legislators’ 2019 vote on HB51, a bill to repeal New Mexico’s archaic abortion ban.
“We know how our legislators voted on abortion access in the past and we want them to know that we haven’t forgotten,” said Krystal Curly of McKinley County and Strong Families New Mexico. “Abortion is healthcare, every pregnancy deserves individualized care, and New Mexico women deserve to be respected for their decisions.”
As of this moment, abortions are still safe and legal in New Mexico. New Mexican women of all walks of life, and across generations want to keep it this way and will remain on the frontlines of this fight until the ban is repealed.