NM Legislature 2017

New Mexico’s legislature convened Tuesday, January 17 for a “long” or 60-day session. This year, in addition to stopping all of the bills restricting abortion, the NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, as part of Respect NM Women,¬† introduced our own slate of bills to not only protect but expand access to reproductive healthcare in New Mexico!

Respect NM Women Legislative Priorities

House Bill 179 – Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act: would ensure that pregnant workers can continue to do their jobs and support their families by having access to reasonable, common sense accommodations for needs arising out of pregnancy. Passed both House and Senate, but vetoed by the Governor.

House Bill 284 – Contraception Access Act: would update our existing laws to ensure that the full range of contraceptive options are covered by insurance companies without out-of-pocket costs or medically unnecessary restrictions. The bill would also improve access to contraception by covering access for both women and men and requiring insurance companies to cover up to a year’s supply of contraception at once. Passed the House and all Senate Committees but ran out of time for an up or down vote in the Senate. See also Senate Bill 347

Senate Bill 282 – Put Patients First Act: would prevent hospitals and urgent care facilities from using religious restrictions to limit a healthcare provider’s ability to provide medically accurate and comprehensive information to a patient, including the ability to make referrals or provide reproductive health services when a failure to do so could put a patient’s life or health in danger. Passed ALL Senate Committees.

House Bill 473 – Decriminalizing Abortion, would repeal NM’s pre-Roe criminal abortion law. Passed House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.

Additional Bills we supported

What does it mean that the NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice works for Reproductive Justice? Reproductive Justice is not just a new way of saying “Pro-choice” or “Right to Choose”. ¬†Reproductive justice is a new theory, a new practice and a new strategy. Its three core principles are the human right to:

  • Decide if and when a person will have a baby and the conditions under which they will give birth,
  • Decide if a person will not have a baby and their options for preventing or ending a pregnancy,
  • Parent the children they already have with the necessary social supports in safe environments and healthy communities, and without fear of violence from individuals or the government.

You can read more here from Trust Black Women.¬† That’s why we supported other important bills like these:

House Joint Resolution 1 – would let voters decide if we should increase the distribution from the state’s $15 billion Land Grant Permanent School Fund in order to fund home visiting programs, high-quality child care, and pre-K in order to turn child well-being around in New Mexico. We believe that every family should have access to an affordable, evidence-based, and high-quality prenatal-to-career care and education. You can find out more from NM Voices for Children.

Senate Bill 121 – would ban the dangerous practice of Gay Conversion Therapy in NM. The NM Religious Coalition supported our partner EqNM and their advocacy for this important bill. As people of faith and conscience, we are taught to love our family and our neighbors, and that includes accepting, embracing and treating them the way we want to be treated when they come out to us. We cannot lose one more to the depression and suicide that this discredited and dangerous practice often leads to. Passed both Senate and House and signed by the Governor. New Mexico is the eighth state to ban conversion therapy!

Bills we opposed

All of these bills were tabled in their first committee hearing except HM 104, HM 118 and SM 139 which were never scheduled for a hearing.

House Bill 37 – Forced Medical Intervention

House Bill 220/ Senate Bill 183 – Banning Abortion Later in Pregnancy

House Bill 221/Senate Bill 361/HM 118 – Forced Parental Notification

House Bill 464/HM 104/SM 139 – Restricting the use of Fetal Tissue for Medical Research

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