New Mexico House Advances Bill to Repeal Existing, Unenforced Law Criminalizing Abortion

    Updated: February 12, 2019 at 4:14 pm EST  See Comments

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    Photo Credit: Anna Langova/Public Domain Pictures

    SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico House of Representatives advanced a bill on Wednesday that would repeal unenforced state law that makes it a crime to perform an abortion unless the procedure is a “justified medical termination.” The move has deeply concerned pro-life residents, who state that it would not only retain the status quo of allowing third trimester abortion in New Mexico, but would also remove conscience protections for medical professionals who object to assisting with abortions.

    House Bill 51, also known as “Decriminalize Abortion,” simply reads, “Sections 30-5-1 through 30-5-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 67, Sections 1 through 3) are repealed.” It refers to the criminal abortion statutes that were passed in 1969, and have been unenforced since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade.

    “Criminal abortion consists of administering to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug or other substance, or using any method or means whereby an untimely termination of her pregnancy is produced, or attempted to be produced, with the intent to destroy the fetus, and the termination is not a justified medical termination,” the current law reads in part.

    If the law were enforced, those who perform an abortion on a woman for a reason other than that which is deemed legally “justified” would be been charged with a fourth-degree felony. A “justified medical termination” under the law pertains to cases where the pregnancy is deemed a threat to the life or “physical or mental

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