Far-left pro-abortion Democrat Attorney General Raúl Torrez presented arguments in the New Mexico Supreme Court on Wednesday, contending that local pro-life ordinances restricting abortion are unlawful. Attorneys representing conservative counties and cities, however, defended these ordinances as a means to ensure potential abortion providers comply with federal law.
While abortion is legally permitted in New Mexico, several local governments have implemented ordinances restricting access to the procedure. Torrez sought to have these rules struck down, citing New Mexico H.B. 7, recently passed by the state legislature, which prohibits interference with access to reproductive healthcare by local authorities.
“The terms of House Bill 7 simply foreclose the opportunity for enactments of this type,” asserted Torrez.
He further argued that local authorities lack the jurisdiction to regulate healthcare, contending that the ordinances are preempted by the state’s decision to restrict local governments from establishing independent licensing requirements for physicians.
Torrez urged the justices to make a sweeping ruling, asserting that access to abortion is a constitutional right in New Mexico, referencing the state’s equal rights clause. He emphasized the need for clarity in light of the Supreme Court of the United States eliminating the federal right to abortion last year.
Representing Lea and Roosevelt counties and the city of Hobbs, attorneys countered Torrez’s stance. Valerie Chacon, representing Hobbs, argued that their ordinance did not restrict abortion access but rather regulated businesses providing abortion.
“We have the inherent right to create ordinances that regulate business,” Chacon contended.
“The licensure overlay here is, frankly, the argument is a ruse. It’s designed to prevent any provider or clinic from offering reproductive health care,” far-left Democrat Justice Shannon Bacon remarked.
The hearing concluded with Justice Bacon announcing that the court would deliberate on the matter, refraining from indicating a specific timeline for reaching a decision.