An attendee holds up a sign at an emergency rally for abortion in May 2022 in Downtown Albuquerque. (Photo by Shelby Wyatt for Source NM)
Faith leaders from different denominations in New Mexico are encouraging lawmakers to expand legal protection for reproductive health care rights.
On Wednesday, the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice released a letter with over 100 people from different churches around the state advocating for a person’s right to make their own decisions about reproductive health care.
Jamie Manson is the president of Catholics for Choice, a nonprofit reproductive advocacy organization that teamed up with the coalition. She spoke about the connection between religion and abortion rights.
“We support abortion access because it aligns with our Catholic social justice values of human dignity and individual conscience,” she said.
Not everyone feels the same.
People from different denominations signed the letter, but not everyone in each faith community supports abortion accessibility in the same way
“As leaders, we feel called to declare our support for a woman’s ability to access abortion and other reproductive healthcare services as a basic issue of health and safety for women and their families,” the letter read.
Manson said some churches have created a stigma around the topic of abortion, forcing “silence and shame around this issue.”
She said people who speak in support of it could be isolated from their religious communities or even lose church-controlled jobs.
She pushed for the passage of House Bill 7, which would protect anyone seeking either abortion or gender-affirming care from discrimination and stop local bans against the health care services. The legislation has passed two committees and needs approval from the House before it hits the Senate side.
Five Democratic lawmakers also just introduced a measure on Tuesday to codify some abortion access by protecting the right for people in New Mexico to give and receive abortions without being subject to lawsuits.
Manson added that lawmakers need to block House Bill 258, which would criminalize abortion when a fetal heartbeat is identified. That typically happens around five or six weeks into a pregnancy, before some people even experience symptoms.
“The assault we now see against reproductive freedom and LGBTQIA+ rights is the result of religious overreach led by Catholic bishops, men who will never ever be pregnant, men who have very few inroads into the lives of women,” she said.
The legislation, sponsored by election-denier Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo), is scheduled for the House Health and Human Services Committee but isn’t likely to make it through the democratically controlled Roundhouse or past a governor that’s made expanding abortion access and protections her executive priorities.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.