On Friday, the New Mexico House of Representatives convened to consider the final passage of S.B. 10, an abortion up-to-birth bill that would strip all protections for medical professionals, women, and babies.
During debate, Rep. T. Ryan Lane (R-San Juan) asked the bill sponsor, Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena (D-Doña Ana), if health care professionals who have conscience objections to abortions would be forced to refer for abortions. Cadena replied, “That depends.” She reaffirmed her answer, “that depends,” when pressed again.
Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Doña Ana) stated that decisions to kill children in the womb “are made with a lot of honor and a lot of sacredness.”
Rep. Mo Maestas (D-Bernalillo), who is married to an anti-gun lobbyist, tried to make the “Don’t tread on me” argument regarding supporting abortion.
Later in the debate, Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad) tried to offer an amendment to keep state law 30-5-2 to protect medical professionals’ conscience rights, but Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Bernalillo), the House parliamentarian, claimed the amendment went against House rules.
Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) ruled that he accepted Ely’s objection, which was refuted by Republican Whip Rod Montoya (R-San Juan), who tried to interject. Egolf screamed across the chamber, “Will you not interrupt me, sir?” Montoya clapped back, “The inconsistency on this is astounding.” Montoya requested an appeal of parliamentarian Rep. Ely’s ruling that it went against rules. Egolf rejected it.
After the amendment was defeated, Rep. Micaela Cadena told Rep. Brown that she worries that “misinformation” was given to medical professionals about being forced to refer for abortions. She added, “We had a chance to include that unnecessary but reassuring language (30-5-2), but the Senate did not pass that bill” in 2019. So, she did without it this session, regardless of what medical professionals thought.
Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences) asked Cadena, “Did the New Mexico ACLU assist you with expert testimony in committees throughout this process?” Cadena replied, “The ACLU of New Mexico was part of that cohort.” Dow read a passage showing that the ACLU does, indeed, want health care providers to refer for and perform abortion regardless of conscientious objections.”
“For whatever reason, instead of answering [Rep. Brown’s] questions, you referred to a past law,” the “Uniform Health Care Decisions Act” and the “Medical Practice Act,” however, they would not protect against medical professionals who have conscience objections against abortions.
When Rep. Dow asked about abortions late in pregnancy, Cadena repeatedly said, “I’m here to debate S.B. 10 and this repeal in front of us,” despite her question about the bill’s topic (abortion). “I’m not here to debate specific medical procedures,” said Cadena, despite abortion being a medical procedure.
Cadena referred to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Medical Association’s standards regarding standards of care. However, Dow pointed to the bill not mandating standards of care, including the late-term abortion being performed in a hospital with 24-hour monitoring. Cadena could not answer on the topic. “I still believe that holding onto that particular section 20-5-2 is not necessary,” said Cadena.
“It is already hard to recruit doctors, especially in rural parts of the state,” said Whip Montoya, adding, “Without… projections,” they “would be forced” to perform or refer for abortions. Dow proposed an amendment to protect medical professionals, which was later voted down on a vote of 44-25 after Majority Leader Sheryl Stapleton (D-Bernalillo) called for it to be tabled.
“The women and girls in New Mexico deserve to be protected,” said Whip Montoya.
“This body has an opportunity to vote no and our vote will be marked in history,” said Rep. Rebecca Dow.
“I don’t care what you say that ‘it’s a blob,’” said Rep. Stefani Lord (D-Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Santa Fe), referring to a baby in the womb. It’s me.” “I do count. My vote counts. My constituents count. The people of New Mexico count.” “What about me?” “You keep saying that you want strong women. They have to be born first,” “I am here showing you exactly what you are killing.”
After more Democrat testimony, the bill passed on a vote of 40-30, with ex-GOP Rep. Phelps Anderson (I-Roswell) betraying his constituents and voting for it. The bill goes to Gov. Lujan Grisham, who has said she will sign the bill. She later posted the following: