New Mexico is one step away from adopting an expansive abortion bill that's been described by opponents as the "most extreme in the nation."
The bill, HB-51, is titled "Decriminalize Abortion." If it becomes law, the measure would legalize abortion in the Land of Enchantment through the ninth month of pregnancy. Although an Albuquerque abortion clinic has been doing such abortions for some time, passage of HB-51 would make it legal. There is a question as to whether there would be conscience protections for medical personnel.
The bill passed in the House on Wednesday on a 40-29 vote. "... It wasn't completely bipartisan support," explains Elisa Martinez of New Mexico Alliance for Life. "We had six Democrats who voted against the radical up-to-birth abortion bill." All Republicans voted against the bill.
The Alliance has expressed their appreciation for the support of those Democratic representatives – Anthony Allison, Doreen Wonda Johnson, Patricia Lundstrom, Patricio Ruiloba, Joseph Sanchez, and Candie Sweetser. All, says the Alliance, "rejected pressure from party leadership and the abortion lobby."
The Alliance conducted a poll of New Mexico residents that within 24 hours gathered 4,000 signatures in opposition to the bill. "So I think, hopefully, we're seeing an awakening of a sleeping giant in New Mexico," Martinez adds.
The next step is a visit to the New Mexico Senate, where Martinez says there's "a lot better chance" the bill will die – even though Democrats hold a 26-16 advantage. "There are more conservative, longtime Hispanic and Catholic Democrats [and] Christian Democrats in the Senate here in New Mexico that really we need people drilling down on," she urges.
There is a little time before that vote. Martinez believes it will go before one or two committees this week before advancing to the Senate floor. The new governor, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, has vowed to sign it if it passes in the state Senate.