New Mexico state Senate upholds dormant ban on abortion
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico state Senate voted Thursday to uphold the state’s dormant criminal ban on abortion, as states across the country re-evaluate local abortion laws in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a 1973 decision that made the procedure legal nationwide.
The Democrat-led Senate voted 24-18 Thursday against a bill that would have removed the state’s prohibition on abortion.
The bill was supported by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and approved by the Legislature’s more politically progressive House.
A 1969 New Mexico statute made it a felony for an abortion provider to terminate a pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, birth defects and serious threats to a woman’s health. The law has been unenforceable for 45 years because of the high court’s ruling.
New Mexico is one of several states that retain abortion bans that are not enforced because of the Supreme Court decision.
Abortion-rights advocates seized on Democratic gains in midterm elections to push to overturn the abortion ban in a heavily Hispanic state with strong currents of Roman Catholicism.
Proponents of overturning the ban including Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque pleaded with Senate colleagues Thursday to ensure women’s access to health care by supporting the legislation.
The Senate’s 16 Republicans were joined by eight Democrats in voting against the bill.
“The state of New Mexico must strive to protect and uphold the dignity of all people from conception to death,” said Sen. Gabriel Ramos, D-Silver City, who voted to uphold the abortion ban.