On Thursday afternoon, the New Mexico Senate convened on the floor of the chamber to debate S.B. 10, an abortion up-to-birth and infanticide bill.
During the debate, Republican senators offered multiple floor amendments and floor substitutes for the bill, which were all stricken down by Democrats.
One amendment offered by Sen. William Sharer (R-San Juan) sought to keep a portion of the state statute a provision that would allow conscientious objections from medical professionals who do not wish to perform abortions.
During the debate, Sen. Jacob Candelaria (D-Bernalillo) tried to argue that state law already affirms that medical professionals would not be forced to perform abortions, however, they would still be forced to refer for abortion, which Sharer’s amendment did not include.
While Republicans tried to ask the bill sponsor, Sen. Linda Lopez (D-Bernalillo) on multiple occasions, but she refused to defend her bill by “respectfully declin[ing] to comment.” All 27 of the bill’s co-sponsors in the body refused to defend their bill.
Sen. Crystal Diamond offered up a floor substitute for S.B. 10, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks, including conscience protections and parental consent requirements. After she offered the substitute, Sen. Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez (D-Bernalillo), who has been in the Senate for a little over one year, bashed Diamond for being a “freshman senator,” claiming Diamond was being “disrespectful” for offering the substitute. Sedillo-Lopez was later corrected on the floor by another Republican senator.
Later in the debate, Candelaria became hostile, accusing Republican senators of using “homophobic” and “transphobic” arguments to oppose the abortion up-to-birth bill. He also threw away a 12-week model of a baby provided by the Right to Life Committee of Lea County, saying it was “offensive” to him and that babies are not actually babies at the moment of conception.
Afterward, Sen. Ron Griggs (R-Doña Ana, Otero, and Eddy) spoke of the need to be more cordial during debate and made the pro-life argument that “somebody’s got to stand up for the little guy” in the womb.
Sen. Candelaria later clapped back, claiming that “as a gay man” and “as a Hispanic” he was “offended” and didn’t like what he claimed was someone telling him to “sit down and be quiet.”
Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Santa Fe) arose to support the bill while claiming he was a “Catholic” and still backed the anti-life bill, which the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops has vehemently opposed.
Sen. Greg Baca (R-Valencia) added during the final debate, “Since [babies in the womb] can’t speak, you will forever be silenced,” said Sen. Baca. No one can speak on behalf of them because they are not here.”
The bill sponsor, Sen. Linda Lopez, accused her Republican colleagues of “mansplaining.” She said, “I appreciate some of the mansplaining on the Senate floor today,” adding, “reproductive rights [abortion rights] are human rights.”
After a rambunctious debate, S.B. 10 was passed on mostly party lines by a vote of 25-17. Two pro-life Democrats, Sen. Pete Campos (D-Colfax, Guadalupe, Harding, Mora, Quay, San Miguel, and Taos) and Sen. George Muñoz (D-Cibola, McKinley, and San Juan) voted against it. Sen. Candelaria relished in his “yes” vote, saying he “proudly” voted yes for the abortion up-to-birth bill.