SANTA FE, New Mexico, February 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As the debate rages over various state proposals to insulate abortion-on-demand from future Supreme Court rulings, a bill currently pending in New Mexico is receiving additional scrutiny for a provision that would strip medical professionals of their right not to participate in abortions.
Last week, the state’s Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed House Bill 51, which would repeal multiple unenforced, pre-Roe sections of the law that criminalized abortion. All but six Democrats supported it; every Republican who was present voted against it.
“It simply removes an antiquated law that criminalizes health care,” Democrat state Rep. Joanne Ferrary claimed. But New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL) calls it “the most extreme bill in the nation” because it would allow abortions for all nine months (as Ferrary conceded), repeals parental-involvement requirements, repeals the requirement that only licensed physicians can commit abortions, and eliminates “the only explicit conscience protection for doctors and other medical professionals that protect them from being forced to participate in abortions.”
Specifically, the bill states that “Sections 30-5-1 through 30-5-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 67, Sections 1 through 3) are repealed.” Section 30-5-2 is the provision stating that hospitals are not required to “admit any patient for the purposes of performing an abortion,” and that anyone employed by or otherwise associated with a hospital “shall not be required to participate in medical procedures which will result in the termination of pregnancy, and the refusal of any such person to participate shall not form the basis of any disciplinary or other recriminatory action against such person.”
HB 51 “compels doctors, nurses, hospitals to perform abortion. We believe this bill if it passes will be challenged,” Republican state Rep. Rod Montoya told the Daily Caller. It “continues the practice of late-term abortion in New Mexico. The abortion industry is not regulated at all in New Mexico.”
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Ferrary claimed federal conscience protections suffice to protect medical personnel without the state language, but Montoya retorted by citing the 2009 case of Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital who was forced to participate in a late-term abortion against her religious objections. A federal Heath and Human Services Department investigation later forced the hospital to institute new conscience protections.
“This bill is a Trojan horse backed by the national abortion lobby in order to establish abortion as a human right by removing so-called 'religious refusals' and turn every hospital, clinic and doctor's office into an abortion clinic or referral center,” NMAFL executive director Elisa Martinez declared.
HB 51 next goes to the state Senate for consideration, where Democrats have a 26-16 majority. Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has already endorsed it.
New Mexico’s efforts follow the introduction of similar bills in Rhode Island and Vermont, their passage in Massachusetts and New York, and a Virginia bill that was tabled after Democrat Del. Kathy Tran admitted it would allow for aborting a baby moments before giving birth, and embattled Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed letting “nonviable” or disabled newborns die under the bill.