May 14, 2012 (OperationRescue.org) - The State of New Mexico has one of the highest poverty rates. Money that could go to alleviate poverty has instead been dished out to abortion providers to the tune of over 1.1 million state tax dollars in 2011 to fund abortions through Medicaid.

Medicaid first began to cover abortion services in 1976, but only for cases when the life of the mother was endangered, as per the Federal Hyde Amendment. In 1977, the Hyde Amendment wording was changed to allow federal funding for abortions to also include cases of rape or incest in addition to life endangerment of the mother.

In New Mexico, Medicaid coverage was extended to “medically necessary” abortions, to be funded out of state funds without any federal financial participation. “Medically necessary” includes physical or mental health issues, but not to the extent of endangering the life of the mother. These policies have not changed in New Mexico since 1998.

“In 2011, New Mexico tax payers paid for 1,786 abortions which amounted to $1,127,557.26. This really brings new meaning to the concept of forced abortions, only now the coercion is foisted upon New Mexico tax payers to fund abortions,” stated Bud Shaver of Project Defending Life.

Abortion Injuries Cause Further Concern

Last June, fourteen 911 calls were obtained through a public records request, prompting even more concern about New Mexico tax funds paying for abortions. At least 14 women were seriously injured by abortions that were potentially paid for by tax payers. Women suffered from uncontrolled bleeding, a ruptured uterus, seizures, and near life threatening complications after and during the abortions.

Tax payers should not be forced to fund a failing industry that harms women and kills their children.

Abortion Clinics Lack Oversight

As Albuquerque attracts women from all over the country seeking abortions, it is also of great concern that the surgical portion of the clinics are never inspected. Abortion clinics nationwide are commonly under regulated, but in a state where tax payers foot the bill for abortions there is almost no oversight. The New Mexico Department of Health currently claims to lack jurisdiction over abortion clinics because they are not classified properly to come under its oversight. This partly explains the abortion injuries we continue to see here in Albuquerque.

Authorities and Public Officials Notified, Action Anticipated

Complaints were filed with the New Mexico Medical Board shortly after the fourteen 911 tapes were obtained. It is unclear as to what extent an investigation in the interest of public safety is underway. Our concerns and all pertinent information have been given to Governor Martinez’s office. Project Defending Life has just recently met with the Governor’s staff and brought the crisis of forced taxpayer-funded abortions to the Governor’s attention.

It is truly unfortunate that there have been years of neglect regarding the safety of women entering unregulated and dangerous abortion clinics in Albuquerque. The 1.1 million dollars currently paying for abortions could certainly be used more effectively to help those in need in the state of New Mexico.

We have been assured by the Governor’s office that steps are being taken to turnaround this deep seated abortion culture that has caused New Mexico to be labeled the “Abortion Capital of the Southwest.” It is our hope that the New Mexico Department of Health will begin inspections of these abortion facilities and that the New Mexico Medical Board will fully investigate the 14 botched abortions and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

“In our discussions with the Governor’s office, we understand that a lot of work needs to be done to change this culture of innocent deaths and wounding of women. It has gotten so bad that the New Mexico abortion industry has publicly bragged about unrestricted abortion access in New Mexico, abortions performed on girls as young as 11, and people coming from surrounding states to have abortions here in New Mexico,” stated Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Project Defending Life, after meeting with the Governor’s Chief of Staff. “It is our hope and expectation that the Governor will explore every option at her disposal to end what has become a shameful and unacceptable situation here in New Mexico.”