Santa Fe, NM: HB 600
, the Keisha Atkins Women’s Health and Safety Act was defeated in the NM House Consumer and Public Affairs committee on a party-line vote of 3-2. The proposal would have nearly eliminated incidence of infanticide by limiting elective abortion of viable infants after 5 months in pregnancy.
The common-sense bill addressed the concerns most New Mexicans
have about late-term abortion, parental involvement in a minor’s abortion and conscience protections for medical professionals. Rep. Rod Montoya read a current UNM abortion policy
that states, in abortions after 22 weeks “the intended abortus may be born with signs of life,” but gives no indication of how the infant is cared for. He also read from the policy: “fetal demise can take up to 24 hours.” The bill would also reduce the number of women who are injured
or die from elective abortion after five months, like Keisha Atkins.
The same vote also defeated HB 608
, a stand alone conscience protection preventing medical professionals and institutions from being forced or coerced to participate in an abortion. Representatives Liz Thompson (D-24), Andrea Romero (D-46), and Angelica Rubio(D-35), voted to table both bills, while Dr. and Representative Gregg Schmedes and Representative Candy Ezzell voted in favor of both bills.
Activists from leading abortion groups including the ACLU NM, Planned Parenthood, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice testified against HB 608 claiming the bill would allow a doctor’s conscience objections to “limit a woman’s access to abortion,” especially in rural communities.
HB 608 co-sponsor, Roswell, NM attorney, and Representative, Cathrynn Brown, “No doctor or medical professional should be coerced into taking a human life, that is what an abortion does. If we do not provide what HB 608 attempts to do, we are going to have a lot of lawsuits and physicians leave the state because doctors do not want to be forced to do what they find morally repugnant.”
HB 608 sponsor Rep. Dow pointed out a disparity,” I don’t know how this limits access [to abortion] unless the intent of HB 51 is to force medical professionals to perform abortions against their conscience.”
During hearings for both bills, Rep. Ezzell stated, “Abortion is not health care for those babies– and it is often deadly for the mother.”
Tina Atkins, the mother of the late Keisha Atkins and grandbaby Mavis Atkins who died during an elective abortion at 6 months testified on HB 600, ” I ask you to pass this bill in my daughter’s name, in honor of the other women and children who are not here today, please stop this in our state. I ask you to join me in this fight to end late-term abortion in New Mexico-once and for all”
NMAFL’S Elisa Martinez along with Dr. Mary Rose Turner provided expert witness testimony for HB 600, “abortions after 5 months carry an 89 times greater risk of death
than abortion at 8 weeks according to an American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology study,” said Dr. Turner.
“Opponents have expressed fear that, somehow, this legislation would facilitate murder,” said Lujan-Grisham. “Elected officials have no business making a woman’s choices for her. Neither do faraway federal judges who have, in some cases, made a career out of antagonizing marginalized groups, not the least of all women.”
In January 2019 alone, New Mexico Alliance for Life has confirmed two medical emergencies at the late-term abortion clinic, Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, for a total of 19
since 2014, including the death of Keisha Atkins
and her 6-month-old baby. Atkins died from a massive infection she contracted under the care of the clinic’s abortionists, the source of the deadly infection has never been investigated nor identified by NM state officials.
The full committee webcast can be found here.
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