Hundreds Advocate to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal

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Erica
 Davis-Crump
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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. 

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 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.

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Alissa Barnes :: Executive Director
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Alissa Barnes is Executive Director at ProgessNow New Mexico where she leads a team that works on message development, issue and voter education, and amplification of progressive messages and values. She leads the organization in strategy development, fundraising, and organizational growth and sustainability.

Alissa’s background includes nearly 12 years at Roadrunner Food Bank where Alissa led the development and creation of multiple programs that are now national models, invested in community building and collaborations, and worked closely with elected officials, educating about hunger and why policies would either benefit or hurt clients in food lines. She has a BA from the University of New Mexico and various non-profit certifications.
  • If she followed her childhood dream, she would be a Broadway tap dancing star
  • Has seen Frozen 1 and 2 over 100 times
  • Loves heavy metal concerts
Marianna Anaya :: Deputy Director
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Marianna oversees strategic messaging and creative implementation tactics for issue-based and political campaigns. She leads the team’s digital and earned media programs, bringing a New Mexico values-based approach to her work. 

Marianna’s background includes race and ethnic studies in education as a focus at UT Austin and UCLA, political campaign work, staffing former Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as leading organizing and communications work for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

  • She currently serves as the Board President of Emerge NM. 
  • Her hobbies include getting more women, queer folks and BIPOC elected to office.
  • She has three cuddle-worthy dogs at home
Lucas Herndon :: Energy and Policy Director
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Lucas’ focus is on all things energy and environment, election integrity projects and general messaging strategy. He is often the front facing voice for PNNM when it comes to issues surrounding methane, renewable energy, oil industry accountability, and public lands issues. 

Lucas has an extensive background in public lands and solar energy. He was instrumental in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has participated in every local election since 2012 through phone banking, online organizing, and poll watching. Lucas is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces where he has served in various capacities of leadership including as President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, District Director for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party, and attending and completing the inaugural classes of the Las Cruces Neighborhood Leadership Academy and the Las Cruces Tree Stewards. 

  • Owned a tattoo shop called Omega Tattoo & Supply 
  • Once got a chin bump “what’s up” from James Harden on an airplane when Harden saw Lucas’ beard 
  • Has a minor in Medieval and Early Modern History
Josette Arvizu :: Communications Director
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Josette Arvizu is the Communications Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the development and implementation of systems that further the external and internal communications of the organization.

Josette’s background in marketing includes copywriting, paid media, SEO and content strategy for businesses and nonprofits, including convention and visitor bureaus from Bermuda to Anaheim. She began her career teaching writing to college students while in New Mexico State University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her previous work promoting diversity and inclusion includes coordination of writing and traditional arts workshops for Native American youth at the Tucson Indian Center.
  • Is a cat mom to an obstinate orange tabby named Quasimodo and a restless grey cat named Squirrel
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Jackie Aguirre :: Communications Specialist
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Jackie’s focus is on graphics and social media marketing that promote progressive issues across our state. 

Jackie’s background includes work in the Reproductive Justice space focusing on Latinx, Chicanx and Mexican-American communities.

  • She is a co-owner of a community art gallery celebrating BIPOC artists
  • She is a long-time volunteer for Planned Parenthood and works with college students to provide condoms/dental dams, menstrual products & other resources
  • She is a part of a group of women who love craft beer and hosts monthly beer shares with beer from all over the country
Edgar Cruz :: Communications Specialist
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Edgar Cruz is a Communications Specialist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on video creation and research that promotes progressive issues across our state.

Edgar has a background producing multimedia initiatives. With over five years of radio production experience, he is a movement agent who believes in exploring all avenues of media to inform and engage community.

  • Is a host of Espejos de Aztlan on KUNM
  • Is a member of Generation Justice
  • First discovered his passion for organizing as a high school student after joining the Youth Alliance in 2009