On Monday, the New Mexico Senate Health & Public Affairs Committee held a hearing on SB-10, the abortion up-to-birth and infanticide bill proposed by Sens. Linda Lopez (D-Bernalillo) and Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe).
The Committee resumed its business shortly after 3:00 p.m. following a slew of technical issues where some senators could not log onto the virtual meeting, the audio wasn’t working at one point for the chairman, Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, who said “I can’t hear a damn thing,” and an influx of New Mexicans tuning in caused the system to lapse.
However, once the technical issues were finally resolved, the Committee began its proceedings, introducing the bicameral bill and its sponsors. Sen. Lopez said of her bill, which would strip away all protections for women, doctors, and babies, that “We must respect and support those who support such a decision and must take politics and the law out of” abortion despite her own sponsorship of the bill seems to put politics into the conversation.
Sen. Wirth noted how he was “honored” to support the anti-life bill. He read off a few canned talking points, claiming the current law, dormant due to Roe v. Wade, is “archaic” and that he “respects” the decisions of New Mexico women to kill their children in the womb.
Rep. Micaela Cadena, a co-sponsor of the abortion bill in the House, said during the committee that she understands “pregnancy is sacred, and as such, we must trust a woman, a pregnant person” to make the decision to abort.
During the proceedings, New Mexicans on each side of the issue were allowed to speak in support or in opposition to the bill for increments of 30 minutes on each side, during which doctors, midwives, nurses, post-abortive women, and mothers spoke on the pro-life side. Multiple activists and “social justice” lawyers spoke in favor of the bill on the pro-abortion side.
Sen. Gregg Schmedes (R-Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe) repeatedly asked the bill sponsors why the bill had stripped away conscience protections away from the bill, despite the previous 2019 version of the bill adding an amendment to explicitly protect health care professionals from being forced to abort children. Sen. Wirth could not answer that question, claiming as a lawyer the bill did not need that explicit conscientious objection clause. Wirth also admitted that the bill would not only allow non-physicians to perform abortions but that the dangerous practice is already happening in New Mexico.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) legal expert that Democrats brought in to testify in support of the bill, Ellie Rushforth, could not answer basic questions from Sen. David Gallegos (R-Eddy and Lea) regarding if a healthy mother could abort a healthy baby in the State of New Mexico. The witness dodged the questions, saying, “These are very complex medical decisions.” that they could not answer.
The Bill ultimately passed the Committee on a party-line vote of 5-3, with Democrat Sens. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Bill Tallman, Brenda McKenna, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, and Liz Stefanics voting for the abortion up-to-birth measure. Republican Sens. Gregg Schmedes, David Gallegos, and Stuart Ingle voted against it.
The bill now moves to consideration before the entire New Mexico Senate, where Democrats believe they have the votes to ram it through. New Mexicans are advised to contact their state senators to vote against the bill when it is brought up to the Senate floor. The name of your senator and their contact information can be found here.
The whole committee hearing can be viewed here.