Decriminalizing Abortion in New Mexico

Policy Win
Expanding Abortion Access

Both NIRH and the NIRH Action Fund have worked steadily in New Mexico for several years to ensure that New Mexico repeals its pre-Roe law criminalizing abortion access and continues to be a haven for abortion access in the Southwest. In 2021, with a newly strengthened majority in support of abortion access in the State Senate, New Mexico successfully repealed its outdated criminal abortion law. 

Enacting Senate Bill 10 was a critical step toward protecting reproductive freedom in New Mexico and safeguarding a critical access point for reproductive health care in the southwest.

Anti-abortion Democrats had for years blocked critical legislation related to reproductive health and abortion access in New Mexico. So, in recent election cycles, the NIRH Action Fund worked with Forward Together Action and Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico to support challengers who ran on a proactive reproductive justice platform. Victories in 2018 paved the way for a House vote to repeal the abortion ban in 2019, but the measure failed in the state Senate – prompting a new wave of challengers in 2020.  The resulting majority – which finally repealed the abortion ban – better represents the views of 77 percent of New Mexicans who respect a woman’s personal decisions about abortion and want it to remain between a woman and her health care provider.

“Abortion bans that remain on the law books – no matter how ‘dormant’ or unenforced – represent a real danger to the people seeking abortion care and medical provider. With the future of abortion access uncertain at the federal level, state and local governments have a mandate to protect and expand access to care. New Mexico took a critical step forward by repealing this ban, reminding us all that elections matter.  We encourage other states to follow suit and look forward to working with our state-level partners to secure new wins and elect new champions in 2021 and beyond.”

Andrea Miller, President of NIRH