• July 21st, 2024
  • Sunday, 07:15:16 AM

NM Demonstrators Look for Next Steps in Preserving Abortion Rights

Foto: Shelby Wyatt for Source NM Erica Davis-Crump, cofundadora del Comité Organizador Central Negro de Nuevo México y presentadora de la manifestación por los derechos reproductivos en el Parque Tiguex el 24 de junio de 2022.


By Shaun Griswold


The rains washed over Old Town Albuquerque and brought hundreds of people to Tiguex Park to share anger and grief at federal reproductive rights taken away earlier in the day by a Supreme Court ruling.


Photo: Shelby Wyatt for Source NM N.M. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a rally for reproductive rights at Tiguex Park in Albuquerque on June 24, 2022.

For some, the event was a place to understand how the court’s ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade ends federal protection on abortion services and triggers bans or severe restrictions in 13 states over the coming weeks. But the ruling does not restrict abortion access in New México.


In fact, people at the event said they want more from legislative leaders in Santa Fe to preserve abortion rights in New México, including protections for patients who travel from areas where abortion is newly illegal or where access is restricted.


As the event was harnessed at times for the 2022 election cycle by New México candidates who support abortion rights, people in the crowd like Adlemmy Molina said they want to make sure politicians keep their promises to make abortion protections stronger.


“I really hope we push for that, we stay like a protective state,” that people know is safe to come for abortion care, she said. “Like, ‘OK, we’re protected. We’re supported. We’re good to go.’ And that’s definitely someone I would vote for. If they’re willing to keep that threshold there.”


Molina made her comments after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke to the crowd at the park promising, “we’re going to do more in the 60-day session. We’re going to continue to expand and protect access.”


“I am embarrassed that I served for the country that’s taking rights away. And it hit very, very deep to the core. I feel very, for lack of better words, I felt very betrayed.”
Adlemmy Molina, Army Veteran


New México alternates between a 30-day and 60-day legislative sessions. During the previous 60-day in 2021, Lujan Grisham and a majority Democratic Legislature repealed an outdated 1969 statewide abortion ban that was overruled by federal protections but was still on the books. Advocates for the bill argue removing the state ban made sure abortion care would be legal in N.M., even if the Supreme Court changed the position it had upheld for decades as we saw June 24.


If Lujan Grisham wants to expand abortion access during the 2023 60-day session, she’ll have to win re-election first. On June 25, her Republican opponent Mark Ronchetti announced that if elected governor, he would compromise with state Democrats and propose a ban on abortions after 15-weeks.


It’s still too soon to understand what the Legislature is likely do on this matter. N.M. Sen. Linda López, (D-Albuquerque), who sponsored the repeal in 2021, said she wants to continue having conversations about possible legislation with service providers and other groups working on access issues.


“I think we need to take a step back,” López said, “work with our partners here in the state and do thoughtful legislation, if it’s needed at this point in time. I know that we’re still talking, and I believe that we will do this together.”


For people at Tiguex Park, action is expected of anyone they vote into office, and it’s clear that many ballots will be cast for candidates that seek to protect reproductive rights in New México.


Molina, an Army veteran who recently returned from South Korea, was disturbed the Supreme Court decision created another battle she will have to take on.


“I am embarrassed that I served for the country that’s taking rights away,” Molina said. “And it hit very, very deep to the core. I feel very, for lack of better words, I felt very betrayed. (New México) is a spot where people can flourish and thrive and be healthy. I’m really hoping that we’re going to stand our ground, and we’re going to keep it safe here.”


Rebecca Haskins recently moved to New México from the east coast. She said the state’s reproductive rights were one reason she chose to move here. Not only does she want to see reproductive rights codified into state law, but she said she wants further protections for body autonomy.


“It needs to be amended into state constitutions so it cannot be repealed,” she said. “It’s nobody’s business what adults do with their own bodies. It’s nobody’s business who adults love.”


Marisol Brito and her friend Kelly Ann also said they want to see state lawmakers act on their promises to preserve abortion rights in the state and more support for out-of-state patients.


Brito said she was sad, angry and confused by the Supreme Court ruling but maintains the sense of relief so many at Tiguex Park felt because New México leaders today value access.


“I’m not just voting for the right for abortion or Roe v. Wade,” she said. “I’m voting for autonomy for my physical being. People cannot tell me what to do with my body. Period. And it’s not just me.”



Shaun Griswold is a Senior Reporter with Source New Mexico. This article is republished from Source New Mexico under a Creative Commons license.


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