SANTA FE, N.M. — House and Senate committees in New Mexico have approved bills to do away with an existing, but unenforced, state law that bans elective abortion.
According to reports, the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee voted 5-3 along party lines on Monday to advance Senate Bill 10 to the full Senate.
On Wednesday, the House Health and Human Services Committee voted 8-3 send companion House Bill 7 to the full House. One Republican, Rep. Phelps Anderson, R-Roswell, sided with the Democrats to vote yes.
As previously reported, a law passed in 1969 made abortion illegal, with the exceptions of rape, incest, the life of the mother or severe physical problems with the unborn child.
“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,” it reads in part.
If the law were enforced, physicians in a hospital setting who perform an abortion on a woman for a reason other than that which is deemed legally “justified” would be charged with a fourth-degree felony.
The statute has been considered null since the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade, and some lawmakers want the law off the books in case the current Supreme Court decides to send the issue of abortion back to the states.
SB 10 is sponsored by Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, and Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe. HB 7 is presented by Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena, D-Mesilla.
“These outdated statutes are dangerous, and we know they have no place in the law books of our incredible state,” Cadena, who identified herself as a “person of faith,” stated during the virtual hearing, according to television station KRQE.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which supports abortion “rights,” also spoke in favor of repealing the law, presenting a letter from 100 “clergy” in the state. View it and the list of signees here.
“I have my own personal, moral view about abortion,” Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld stated, according to the NM Political Report. “We can hold our own views and still allow women to make their own decisions.”
Some argued that the law should not be repealed in its entirety, since a section of it provides protections for physicians who have religious objections to performing abortion.
“Though some of the existing law is unenforceable because of Roe v. Wade, this statute contains important provisions that protect our doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals,” Sen. Gregg Schmedes, R-Tijeras, stated, according to the Los Alamos Reporter. “As a medical doctor, I have heard from many of my colleagues that if they lose these vital conscience protections, they will consider leaving the state which would threaten healthcare access for many New Mexicans.”
Even the New Mexico Alliance for Life, a pro-life group in the state, remarked, “New Mexico Alliance for Life and our pro-life legislators agree that the criminal abortion statue should be removed, but replaced with protections for women, for unborn children and for medical professionals.”
“This is one of the toughest decisions any of us will ever have to make,” said Sen. Gabriel Ramos, D-Silver City, citing his faith. “I stand unified against legislation that weakens the defense of life and threatens the dignity of the human being.”
“The state of New Mexico must strive to protect and uphold the dignity of all people from conception to death.”
CHRISTIAN STANCE ON ABORTION
Christians have long opposed abortion as murder, seeing the taking of human life — no matter what his or her age, size or location (whether inside or outside the womb) — as playing God in essentially considering it a “right” for mothers to dictate which one of her children lives or dies.
In his 1869 sermon entitled “Ante-Natal Infanticide,” E. Frank Howe, the pastor of the Congregational Church of Terre Haute, Indiana lamented that “men and women place their own ease and pleasure above God’s law” and that “public opinion is so corrupted there is no voice of reproach,” forthrightly declaring, “Put what face upon it the community will, disguise it under whatever name you please, you can make no more or less of it than simple murder.”
“So low, gentleman, is the moral sense of community on this subject,” also lamented Philadelphia obstetrician Hugh Lennox Hodge in 1854 in his lecture to fellow doctors on “Criminal Abortion.” “So ignorant are even the greater number of individuals, that even mothers in many instances shrink not at the commission of this crime, but will voluntarily destroy their own progeny, in violation of every natural sentiment, and in opposition to the laws of God and man.”
The late preacher Lee Roy Shelton (1923-2003) wrote in “The Crimes of Our Times” in a section on abortion:
“Life is cheap today to the average individual, but not to God. … God is concerned about that baby in the mother’s womb; He gave it. It came into being, I know, by normal process of a male’s and female’s being joined together as one, but it was God who gave the life in conception, and God alone has the right to say when it should be taken away.”
“When killing anyone, the murderer is guilty of taking the life which God has given, and therefore he is ‘playing God’ by saying when and how a man should die. But God doesn’t look lightly upon those who try to take His place.”
“Children are a heritage of the Lord; God alone gives little children; therefore, woe be unto that woman or man who destroys them, whether in the womb or out of the womb,” he said.
Scripture, in addition to speaking on the value of the unborn, also repeatedly addresses the precursor sin of fornication, teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:13, “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 exhorts, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor — not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.”
Verses 7-8 add, “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.”
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