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N.M. Lawmaker Proposes 20-Week Abortion Bans

February 2, 2016 — New Mexico Sen. Bill Sharer (R) proposed two measures that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Farmington Daily Times reports.

Legislation Details

One of the bills (SB 243) would impose a 20-week abortion ban and ban a particular type of abortion procedure. The bill includes an exception for when the woman's life is endangered. In such cases, the abortion provider would be required to attempt to keep the fetus alive.

The other measure (SB 242) also would ban abortion at 20 weeks, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life or physical health of the woman.

According to the Daily News, the state House last year passed similar legislation prohibiting abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, but the measure was blocked by the state Senate. Sharer said it is unlikely that the Senate will approve his bills.

Community Groups Launch Campaign To Protect Abortion Rights

According to the Daily Times, local advocacy groups in New Mexico launched a new campaign, called Respect New Mexico Women, in response to proposed antiabortion-rights legislation. In 2013, the groups successfully campaigned against a ballot measure that would have prohibited abortion providers from offering abortion care later in pregnancy in Albuquerque.

In a campaign press release, Erin Armstrong, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, said, "New Mexico has long been a place where women from our communities could safely and legally have an abortion, and that must continue." She added, "While other states have enacted hundreds of anti-abortion laws, New Mexico has remained a place where a woman's decision to end a pregnancy is respected and protected."

Separately, Sandra Penn, a retired Albuquerque-based family physician who has worked with ACLU, said Sharer's proposed bills would impede women's reproductive rights. Penn said, "It is so sad that people are so interested in not allowing women to make the decision about their bodies and their pregnancy" (Grover, Farmington Daily Times, 1/30).