Repealing New Mexico’s 1969 Abortion Ban
Southwest Women’s Law Center and its allies’ successful advocacy to pass the Respect NM Women & Families Act has repealed the statute criminalizing and banning abortion and eliminated NM’s physician-only abortion restriction. Governor Lujan Grisham signed the repeal into law in February.
“When Terrelene Massey watched New Mexico’s bill to repeal the state’s abortion ban die in the state House in 2019, she was struck by what she calls a “convenient argument” made by some legislators: they couldn’t vote in favor of the bill because their Native and Indigenous constituents were opposed. Massey, executive director of Southwest Women’s Law Center, knew this couldn’t be true. From her own lived experience as a Navajo woman, and her professional experiences as an advocate, she’d seen firsthand how her peers value body sovereignty as part of their spiritual traditions, and how Indigenous people had longstanding, ancestral practices for delivering abortion care. Massey had a feeling that if these lawmakers could see hard data on Native women’s feelings on abortion, the bill might have a chance of passing. Working with Forward Together, Bold Futures, Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, and ACLU of New Mexico, Massey launched the first-ever survey on how Native and Indigenous women in New Mexico felt about reproductive rights in 2020.”