Late-term abortion ban has bipartisan support at Roundhouse

SANTA FE (KRQE) — It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Albuquerque became the center of the national abortion debate. Now, New Mexico itself is set to be front and center.

On Friday, lawmakers announced a new bill to ban late term abortions in a state with one of the only known late-term abortion clinics in the nation. The bill would ban abortions after five months and once the fetus is capable of living outside the womb.

Unlike the failed November 2013 measure in Albuquerque, the bill provides exceptions for rape, abuse, incest, and when the mother’s life is in danger.

Republicans announced the measure, sponsored by Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Albuquerque, already had the support of six House Democrats.

“Forty-two other states have laws on the books like this already, and I think that’s what really garnered the bipartisan support,” said Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque.

But the GOP is in for a fight with other Democrats.

“There are very difficult, complicated decisions in regards to abortion,” said Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque. “Government and politics have no roll [in it].”

Not all faith-based groups agree, either.

“We believe that these are deeply complex and personal decisions that should be made by a woman, with her family, according the advice or her doctor and, of course, according to her own faith and values,” said Joan Lamunyon Sanford, executive director for NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

With the bill set to be introduced on Monday, supporters say it is a long-overdue bill that has a much better chance at passing than the Albuquerque measure, which failed on a 45% to 55% vote.

“We know that the majority of New Mexicans do not want to have elective late-term abortions taking place up to the day of birth in our state,” said Elisa Martinez with New Mexico Alliance for Life.

Gov. Susana Martinez says she’s pro-life and doesn’t support late-term abortions.

Another bill announced on Friday would require teens give their parents 48 hours notice before they get an abortion.

If a doctor performed an abortion on a minor and a parent didn’t know, the doctor could be fined and have their license suspended for a year.

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