1969 NM Law Bans Abortion. Move Afoot to Rescind this Ban to Protect Women’s Right to Choose. Find Out More.

A bill to rescind the 1969 statute died quietly in committee, precisely the kind of behind closed doors workings that has undermined dozens of good bills in the past. Joanne Ferrary is reintroducing the bill in 2019. Find out how you can help make it law and protect a woman’s right to choose.

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New Mexico Democrats Move To Repeal Decades-old State that Bans Abortion Except In Marrow Circumstances

Getting bills like this reversed is why Retake Our Democracy’s Roundhouse Advocacy Team (AKA RAT Pack) has been working together for almost two years. Passed in 1969, the statute makes it a fourth-degree felony for physicians to perform the procedure except in cases of rape, incest or likely birth defects, or to protect the life of the mother.  It has remained on the books but unenforceable since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. But with the hard right turn in the Supreme Court, NM reproductive-rights activists and Democratic legislators have signaled that a significant change in the legislation is a high priority. “We feel a sense of urgency about repealing this old, outdated statute and cleaning up our books so that no matter what happens at the federal level, New Mexico women can continue to make those personal decisions for themselves,” said Erin Armstrong, a reproductive-rights lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico.  The ACLU is not alone in this fight in NM, Rep. Joanne Ferrary had introduced the bill in 2017, but it never got out of committee and in 2018, Gov. Martinez refused to allow the bill to be introduced. Ferrary plans to introduce the bill again for the 2019 session, perhaps as early as mid-December.  Activists anticipate the usual opposition from pro-life advocates, but feel that their stance is bolstered by a poll conducted in January 2017. The poll of 1700 New Mexican rural county residents, found that 77% of respondents trusted women to make abortion decisions for themselves.

With a Democratic Governor signaling she will sign the bill and with the House now standing at 46-24 Democrats and the Senate at 26-14 Dems, Ferrary feels it will pass this year. And the RAT Pack and its Roundhouse Rapid Response Network will be advocating for Ferrary’s bill as one of our MUST PASS bills.

How will our RAT Pack support Ferrary’s bill? We will develop bill summaries and distribute them to Roundhouse representatives and their staff as well as to committee staff and legislative analysts. We will also circulate email action alerts to members of our Response Network triggering emails and calls to Representatives who will be hearing the bill in committee. Note that in 2017 Ferrary’s bill never made it out of committee. Retake has determined that this is how many, many good bills get stalled. A committee chair will simply not schedule a bill they don’t want to take a vote on or will ask for a vote to table citing some fabricated language issue with the bill or other detail. The vote is not reported on line and the bill dies quietly. But Retake Our Democracy’s Roundhouse Advocacy Team plans to be at the Roundhouse every day, sending action alerts so the voters too distant to the Capitol can raise their voices and tell their elected official they want to this bill to pass and be signed into law.  We will have RAT Pack members watching the committing hearings when our bills are being heard and we will watch how bills get stalled and report this to the constituents of committee members who help stall good bills. Through this kind of coordinated volunteer advocacy we will make the legislative process more transparent and more responsive to constituent priorities.

If you’d like to be part of this effort, please let me know by writing to me at paul@retakeourdemocracy.org. We really need to know how many folks will be at these meetings.

Our next Roundhouse Advocacy Team meeting is going to be Thursday, Nov 29 from 6-8pm, at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. The meeting will include a 30-minute orientation from 6-6:30, followed by a training by Clifford Rees, who will provide a detailed discussion of precisely how bills are introduced and move through the Roundhouse and he will identify the key leverage points where advocates can have an especially effective impact. Given that he has been a legislative analyst at the Roundhouse for 13 years, he knows the ropes. After the training, we will break into groups by volunteer role and discuss the goals for each team and who needs to do what in order to be ready to be successful in 2019. Roles include: researching bills and writing summaries, preparing media statements, calling Response Network members in other parts of the state and helping them expand their base, and being Roundhouse Advocates at the session, watching hearings, and visiting with key legislators and their staff, distributing issue-summaries. We will provide scripts for calling people who have signed up to be part of the Response Network and guidelines for developing bill summaries.  There is a good deal you can do from home and we also are strongly encouraging people who have never advocated at the Roundhouse to join us. We will provide training, materials, scripts and support. Before you know it, you’ll be making sure our MUST PASS Bills get signed into law. For more information on the RAT Pack, our must pass bills, and how you can become involved, click here.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

 

5 thoughts on “1969 NM Law Bans Abortion. Move Afoot to Rescind this Ban to Protect Women’s Right to Choose. Find Out More.

    • Actually, the Word Press site is where you go to unsubscribe. Since I obviously haven’t tried to unsubscribe, I didn’t really know how to do this and there is no support from Word Press this weekend. But I get the blog at 3 email addresses, so I unsubscribed to one just so I could advise you. And when you click to unsubscribe you get taken to a Word Press page where you enter your email address, once you do that you get a page to manage our subscriptions. You’ll see Retake there and you just click unfollow. Hope this helps. Curious why someone from Indivisible would want to unsubscribe? Be well. Paul

  1. Paul,
    The date of the next Roundhouse meeting is incorrect. Thursday is the 29th or the 25th is Sunday.

    But, unfortunately, I will be in Roswell for a game commission meeting (my interest there is wolves).

    I’m very interested in your meetings, so please keep it up.
    Bob MacPherson

  2. Pingback: A Look Back & Forward: Reinventing Thanksgiving, Gift-Giving & the Roundhouse | Retake Our Democracy

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