State Supreme Court suspends ordinances restricting abortion access

By: - April 4, 2023 4:10 am

The front door of the New Mexico Supreme Court in Santa Fe. (Photo by Austin Fisher / Source NM)

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ordered a suspension of ordinances in Eastern New Mexico that restrict access to abortion, in response to a request by Attorney General Raúl Torrez.

The court has agreed to hear the argument made by Torrez in an extraordinary writ filed in January that several counties and cities acted unlawfully when they passed ordinances citing a 19th century federal law related to the mailing of abortion-related items.

Officials and campaigners said the goal of the ordinances was to prevent abortion clinics opening, although the procedure remains legal in New Mexico.

Since then, the legislature has passed a law prohibiting public bodies from restricting access to reproductive care.

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Now, the Supreme Court is requesting briefs on the arguments related to the case, including on the new law. In the meantime, the court has ordered a stay on the anti-abortion ordinances.

Attorney General Torrez said in an audio message to KUNM that he welcomes the opportunity to make a full argument.

“We also look forward to really putting this matter to rest, we hope across the state of New Mexico, so that women can once again feel confident and comfortable that the state of New Mexico and this office stand behind them and will protect their rights,” he said.

The cities of Clovis, Hobbs and Eunice, as well as Lea and Roosevelt counties were advised by a Texan right-to-life group when they wrote their ordinances.

An attorney with the group, Jonathan Mitchell, has promised to help them fight legal challenges.

This story was originally published at It is republished here with permission.

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Alice Fordham, KUNM
Alice Fordham, KUNM

Alice Fordham joined the news team in 2022 after a career as an international correspondent, reporting for NPR from the Middle East and later Latin America and Europe. She also worked as a podcast producer for The Economist among other outlets, and tries to meld a love of sound and storytelling with solid reporting on the community. She grew up in the U.K. and has a small jar of Marmite in her kitchen for emergencies.