Two NM Pro-life Bills for Show Only?

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FullSizeRenderIn the last week, I have been criticized, in some cases attacked, by pro-abortion Catholic politicians, by people supporting the poorly written, full of exceptions pro-life legislation being debated in the NM Legislature, by people objecting to those exceptions (as I do), and finally, by a pro-life democrat.

What is happening here? Well, I think this is all the result of a well orchestrated plan to make sure no pro-life legislation reaches Governor Martinez’s desk while everyone who needs political cover gets the cover they need in the process.

My suspicion was first raised when I received a phone call the day before the legislative session started from a prominent republican state senator telling me that I needed to be patient in regards to the pro-life legislation. He told me that the legislation would not be on the call at the beginning of the session, but that there was a plan in the works and that two weeks were needed for the legislation to be introduced. I was skeptical. I told him what I had said all along i.e. after decades of nothing pro-life being passed, some pro-life legislation better receive up and down votes on both floors of the legislature so we could hold people accountable for their votes.

It is obvious now what was merely suspicious then. The two week delay was the death knell for the 2 bills proposed. I believe this was the plan all along. The 3rd day of the legislation session, the Republican House Whip asked to meet with me as we protested Governor Martinez outside the Roundhouse. We had been protesting the Governor for a year stating that she was “pro-life in name only” (PLINO). The Whip also told me that I should be patient in regards to pro-life legislation and that change takes time. He also asked me to stop protesting the Governor which I refused to do unless she voiced her support for some pro-life legislation. I left that meeting wondering what was going on, but lo and behold, the next day, the Governor expressed support for a parental notification bill and a ban on late term abortion, two bills which were being talked about by pro-life proponents, but had not been introduced (and I am not sure even written ) at that point.

I felt from the beginning and I still feel now that these bills were written and introduced for the sole purpose of giving the Governor and the necessary legislators political cover. These bills were never meant to reach the Governor’s desk. They were poorly written with ridiculous exceptions that rendered them meaningless and unenforceable. Each bill actually, if passed, would eliminate the only pro-life law on the books in NM, a late term abortion statute. As it were, both bills were introduced late and moved through the House with no sense of urgency.

Behind the scenes, it was unclear who would support these measures on the House floor. There were some conflicting statements made by some republican legislators casting doubt on whether they supported these bills. There was disagreement among pro-life groups as to the merit of these bills. Ultimately the bills passed the House, but clearly too late to be given any real chance of passing the Senate. Again, I believe this was the plan all along.

This actually all began in the fall after the election. I was told by a reliable source that the House Majority Whip wanted me (and my protest group) to stand down referencing that the Governor did not want any legislation that inhibited a woman’s access to abortion to reach her desk. This was consistent with what I have always believed. The Governor’s only public statement on abortion prior to the session had been, “if legislation protecting fetuses reaches my desk, I would consider signing it.” Her statement was clearly not a resounding manifestation of a pro-life mindset and only said in the face of our persistent protests.

No one in this legislature process has shown any serious sense of urgency to get well written and effective pro-life legislation passed and on the Governor’s desk. Again, I believe this was the plan all along. One pro-life group called these bad bills passing the House “historic.” What is historic about this is history is repeating itself. Politicians in NM have been and still are morally corrupt when it comes to pre-born babies. They have never put babies before their political parties or aspirations. They protect zoo animals and coyotes with more urgency than pre-born children. I am disgusted by all of them from the Governor down and will continue to protest all of them when appropriate regardless of political persuasion.

The pro-life groups that went along with this sham and are too cozy with these politicians should step back and take serious pause. Once again, this entire process was done on the politicians’ terms and not on any true principle of human dignity. NM will remain “the late term abortion capital of the world” and the reasons for our shameful reputation were obvious throughout this legislation session.

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Father Stephen is a priest with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, ordained 10 years as a late life vocation. Fr Stephen has been given permission to do full-time national pro-life ministry and is currently a member of the Pastoral Staff of Priests for Life. Fr Stephen is the founder of several pro-life ministries including St Gerard's CPC in Connecticut and Project Defending Life in New Mexico.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Like the Democrats who voted against these bills, Fr. gets his facts all wrong. HB 390 would have added a new section to the existing partial birth abortion ban, not repeal it. Also, one of the exceptions is required under current Supreme Court Precedent. If that was left out, pro-abortionists would have had an easy reverse-slam-dunk in getting a permanent injunction from any judge on the New Mexico federal bench, forever banning the enforcement of the law. The other exception was deemed necessary to get through the house and senate. If it had been taken out, the bill would not have been introduced. Period.

    Rather than being poorly drafted bills–as people who sat this one out have been parroting–both bills were carefully drafted to survive immediate legal challenges with language taken directly out of Supreme Court cases. These were cases that deemed the language used in the bills Constitutional—cases that cut in favor of a Pro-life interpretation of the Constitution. Yes, cases that the prolife movement has won. The objective was to get new law in place that would survive court challenges. Again, it would be a waste of time to pass a bill that could easily be struck down in state or federal court. It is not only known that a sure challenge was coming, but the very lawyers who would make the challenge were known to the drafters of the bills.

    The supposed “well written” bills that national groups, like Right to Life, suggested 1) have not been deemed constitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court, so, again, they would have handed an easy legal victory to the pro-abortion side; and 2) would have never been introduced in either house due to political realities.

    Unlike HB 390, an approach proven to work in other states, not one life would have been saved by that approach. The other groups who submitted suggestions, simply wanted their bill, so they could say they wrote the legislation and collect more donations, but took a similar approach to what HB 390 already provided for. In the end, the bills were tabled by five liberal democrats, all from Bernalillo County, not any back room conspiracy by the Governor or any Republican in the House or Senate.

  2. Is this the James who wrote these bills? If so, you should identify yourself as such! Yes?

    Interesting that you consider health exceptions and rape and incest exceptions in pro-life bills something positive. Serious pro-lifers don’t. Also, dealing with politicians on their terms with poorly written bills full of exceptions has gotten us nowhere in 40+ years and they never will. And assuming that I think that I favor RTL and their methods just shows how little you know. Yes, I do sit out overtly dealing with immoral politicians during the legislative session. I do serious pro-life work year round like protesting the Governor to the point of her finally supporting something pro-life while also protesting democrats who call themselves catholic and support baby killing. Not only do I not make immoral compromises, but we (www.protestabq.com) have a decisive national strategy to end abortion. National Protests, National Strike until we get constitutional “personhood” from moment of conception. I don’t care about what you consider “political realities.” I believe in changing the political dynamic. I care about ending pre-born baby killing in this country and I will protest those who profit from, support, or condone baby killing until it ends.

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