Lawmakers and reproductive health advocates believe the time is ripe to remove a criminal abortion law from New Mexico state statute. First step: the reintroduction of a bill during the 2021 legislative session that would repeal a 1969 law that, while unenforceable due to the U.S. Supreme Court 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protects the right to an abortion, remains one of the most punitive of its kind in the country.
This story first appeared in New Mexico In Depth’s 2021 Legislative Special Edition. Sponsors of the abortion legislation as well as healthcare advocates say the makeup of the state Legislature, public opinion on abortion access and shifting support at the federal level indicate that the moment is right for repealing the law that severely restricts and criminalizes abortion in New Mexico. But that momentum doesn’t mean it will be easy. Opponents are already preparing for a fight.The effort to repeal the 50-year-old state law has gained urgency in New Mexico since the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court shifted to the right in recent years, creating fear that a majority of justices would overturn Roe v. Wade.