Abortion limitations

Editor:

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, declaring there is no constitutional right to abortion.

The states now have the green light to legislate on abortion — and can choose to protect it, regulate it or abolish it.

Where does that leave New Mexico?  Thanks to the governor-supported repeal of New Mexico’s general criminal abortion statute, New Mexico lacks an abortion law that springs into effect upon the overruling of Roe v. Wade. A post-Roe New Mexico looks very much like it did before.

Couldn’t that change with new occupants in the Legislature and governor’s mansion? That would make a huge difference, to be sure, but legally limiting abortion in New Mexico is a bit more complicated than that.

The road to imposing legal limitations on abortion is steeper in New Mexico than in some other states because of our New Mexico Constitution. Our state constitution has something the federal constitution does not: an equal rights amendment. Article II, Section 18, states that “Equality of rights under law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.”

That language has already been used to protect abortion. Over two decades ago, the Gary Johnson administration sought to implement a rule cutting Medicaid funding for abortion. In a 1999 case called NARAL v. Johnson, the New Mexico Supreme Court struck down the rule, saying, “We conclude … that the Department’s rule violates New Mexico’s Equal Rights Amendment …”

We can expect that when asked, the New Mexico Supreme Court will find a right to abortion under the state Constitution.

But state constitutions can be changed. The Legislature (without the approval of the governor) can place proposed state constitutional amendments before the people for a vote. This happens fairly often, and many of the proposed amendments pass and change the text of the New Mexico Constitution.

If New Mexico joins the list of states with strict abortion limitations, it will not just be because of New Mexico’s politicians, it will also be because of New Mexico’s people.

Jonathan Gardner | Los Lunas


 

You can help women

Editor:

To provide financial support for women and teenage girls seeking to obtain an abortion there are a wide variety of organizations that can use your help.

At the website, abortionfunds.org/funds/, you can locate organizations by state and get detailed information about each, and how to donate.

The Republican Party has taken firm control of the formerly nonpartisan U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., which for more than 200 years was focused on the law and the Constitution.

The Republican/religious controlled court has thrown all that out. What did you expect from the Republican court (not to mention the leader of the party) when two of its members have been accused of highly credible sexual improprieties?

James Rickey| Los Lunas


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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.