New frontline of U.S. abortion battles emerges in New Mexico By means of Reuters


© Reuters. Michael Seibel, an Albuquerque founded anti-abortion attorney, speaks with the ones attending an anti-abortion rally outdoor of the Hobbs Town Fee Chamber in Hobbs, New Mexico, U.S., October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Brad Brooks


By means of Brad Brooks

CLOVIS, New Mexico (Reuters) -The brand new frontline of the U.S. abortion combat is at the far off plains of New Mexico, the place two conservative cities are set to outlaw the clinical process in spite of it final felony within the state after Roe v. Wade was once struck down.

The cities of Clovis and Hobbs don’t also have abortion clinics however are strategic, activists and clinicians say, as a result of they’re close to the border with Texas, to the east. Texas was once probably the most first states to impose a near-total ban on abortion and suppliers may withstand existence in jail there.

The New Mexican abortion supplier inside closest achieve for many Texas girls is lately in Albuquerque – a couple of four-hour pressure from Clovis and 5 hours from Hobbs.

Reuters attended fresh town fee conferences in each Clovis and Hobbs the place the anti-abortion ordinances have been complicated and has discovered from probably the most biggest impartial abortion suppliers in america that the felony strikes have brought about it to rethink putting in place a medical institution in japanese New Mexico.

Anti-abortion activists hope different cities will practice Clovis and Hobbs to hugely shrink the place abortions are nonetheless carried out, particularly in different states managed by way of Democrats. Activists in New Mexico combating for ladies’s get entry to to protected abortions worry a brand new combat is coming to those “blue” states.

Clovis and Hobbs are more likely to face felony demanding situations, however an identical measures have survived complaints in Texas. Citizens in Lubbock, Texas, which is close to the New Mexico border, outlawed abortion in 2021. Deliberate Parenthood was once unsuccessful in its problem of the Lubbock ordinance, and its medical institution within the Texas the town stopped offering abortions even ahead of Roe fell.

“Anti-abortion forces, now that they don’t want to concentrate on Texas and Mississippi and Alabama and Louisiana anymore, they are beginning to concentrate on what I name the ‘new frontier’,” mentioned Amy Hagstrom Miller, the CEO of Complete Girl’s Well being, probably the most country’s biggest impartial suppliers of abortion.


The city-level technique is the brainchild of a Christian pastor and a conservative attorney who clerked for Perfect Courtroom Justice Antonin Scalia, who was once a critic of Roe.

Mark Lee Dickson, a pastor and head of the Proper to Lifetime of East Texas, based the “sanctuary towns for the unborn” motion in 2019. In New Mexico, Dickson labored with conservative attorney Jonathan Mitchell, who was once the architect of Texas’ 2021 “heartbeat” abortion legislation.

The inflow of abortion-seeking girls from Texas and phrase {that a} medical institution may open of their cities is what drove pastors in Clovis and Hobbs to succeed in out to Dickson.

“We all know that abortion suppliers need to arrange proper right here in those towns which can be simply mins clear of the Texas border,” Dickson mentioned after the Oct. 17 town fee assembly in Hobbs complicated the ordinance there. “They need to draw in as many Texas citizens as imaginable for abortions proper right here in New Mexico.”

Each Clovis and Hobbs are positioned in a much more conservative bite of the state than the extra liberal spaces round Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Citizens right here bristle that their state is managed by way of politicians who don’t proportion their perspectives on many problems, together with environmental insurance policies impacting the realm’s huge petroleum trade, pandemic restrictions and abortion.

“We are hoping this sends the message to our state legislature that there are pro-life towns available in the market and we need to self-determine in this factor,” Clovis Mayor Mike Morris mentioned on Oct. 13 when his the town complicated the proposed ban.

However Laura Wight, a 45-year-old Clovis citizen who helped discovered Jap New Mexico Emerging, a neighborhood modern workforce antagonistic to the proposed abortion ordinance, mentioned the measure was once an assault at the rights of native girls and the ones in Texas who might search protected abortions in japanese New Mexico.

Wight mentioned she has reached out to the ACLU and that her workforce will attend the Nov. 3 Clovis town fee assembly the place a last vote is anticipated at the ordinance. She hopes the measure is not going to cross however says it most likely will.

“Many states are in peril of going through an identical scenarios,” Wight mentioned. “That is the crux of it. That is why the overturning of Roe v. Wade and leaving that call as much as the states is this sort of giant deal. As a result of when it is left as much as the states, you are on the mercy of whoever is accountable for the state at that specific time, or on this case, the native executive.”

The chance of hundreds of Texas girls in search of abortion coming to New Mexico partly led New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to earmark $10 million for a reproductive healthcare medical institution within the house of Las Cruces, positioned 210 miles (340 km) west of Hobbs.

New Mexico’s Lawyer Basic Hector Balderas instructed Reuters that he was once involved at trends in Clovis and Hobbs and had directed body of workers to “review this fresh task, because of town’s felony legal responsibility to give protection to get entry to to healthcare for ladies and households.”

Nora Meyers Sackett, the click secretary for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, instructed Reuters that the ordinances, if handed, could be an affront to the rights and autonomy of all girls within the area.

“New Mexico legislation is apparent – reproductive well being care is felony and secure all through the state,” she mentioned.

After the U.S. Perfect Courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade and its federal abortion protections in June, Hagstrom Miller, the CEO of Complete Girl’s Well being, was once pressured to close down the crowd’s abortion clinics in Texas.

Hagstrom Miller mentioned she’s going to open clinics in New Mexico and is thinking about opening a facility in Clovis or Hobbs, largely to serve girls returning from Texas. However the opportunity of “sanctuary” ordinances has given her pause about working in japanese New Mexico.

“On this post-Dobbs generation, the place anti-abortion other folks are emboldened, I need to be certain we are in a spot the place our sufferers can also be protected, the place our docs and our body of workers can also be protected,” she mentioned.


The ordinances each Clovis and Hobbs are set to cross leisure upon federal legislation from the Nineteen Forties that forbids the use of the U.S. Postal Provider or a personal service equivalent to FedEx (NYSE:) to mail or ship anything else “designed, tailored, or supposed for generating abortion.” The towns would call for that abortion clinics adhere to that federal legislation to procure a town allow to function.

“We do not suppose any abortion facility will agree to do this. If a medical institution agreed to practice that federal legislation, we do not consider they’d be capable of perform abortions, for loss of fabrics,” mentioned Dickson, the anti-abortion activist from Texas.

Michael Seibel, an Albuquerque-based anti-abortion attorney who consulted with Dickson and Mitchell at the Clovis and Hobbs proposed ordinances, mentioned he hopes the fashion can be adopted in Democratic-controlled states around the nation.

The U.S. Perfect Courtroom choice in June overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that known girls’s constitutional proper to abortion. That gave states the facility to prohibit abortion. Seibel proposes going past state-by-state to locality-by-locality.

“New Mexico and plenty of different blue states are in fact pro-life states which can be simply ruled by way of one or two giant towns,” Seibel mentioned, talking in Hobbs after town fee gave its initial approval to the “sanctuary” ordinance on Oct. 17. “The majority of cities and villages all through a blue state might actually be pro-life.”

A last vote in Hobbs is about Nov. 7.

Polling performed by way of the Pew Analysis Middle has proven previously that whilst a majority consider abortion must be felony in a minimum of some circumstances, 45% of adults in New Mexico consider that abortion must be “unlawful in all/maximum circumstances.”

Ellie Rushforth, an lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in Albuquerque, mentioned the proposed ordinances violate the state charter. She despatched a letter to Clovis town fee contributors announcing passing the ordinance would “reveal town and its electorate to doubtlessly vital legal responsibility.”

Rushforth mentioned the ACLU stood in a position to shield girls’s proper to reproductive care.

“They are the use of our communities as checking out grounds for doubtful felony theories,” she mentioned.

Learn extra:

U.S. abortion medical institution strikes up the road to flee one state’s ban

EXPLAINER-How abortion turned into a divisive factor in U.S. politics

How Texas’ abortion ban hurts Giant Oil’s effort to develop into its group of workers

WIDER IMAGE-With U.S. abortion get entry to in jeopardy, this physician travels to fill a void