HB 390 would amend existing state law to include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks' gestation, while HB 391 would require physicians to provide notice of a planned abortion procedure of a non-emancipated minor to one parent or guardian at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.
After Republicans secured a majority in the New Mexico house during the 2014 midterm elections, reproductive rights advocates feared that the new political landscape would threaten abortion access not just in the state, but throughout the Southwest.
Those fears are being realized, as a pair of bills to restrict reproductive rights is moving through the state legislature and appear to be headed for a full vote.
HB 390, introduced by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo), would amend existing state law to include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation, unless the life and the health of the mother is at risk, or the pregnancy was a result of sexual abuse, rape, or incest.
HB 390 would also impose civil penalties on any physician who violates the act, with a minimum one-year suspension of the physician’s license and a fine of at least $5,000.
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Introduced by House Majority Whip Alonzo Baldonado (R-Los Lunas), HB 391 would require physicians to provide notice of a planned abortion procedure of a non-emancipated minor to one parent or guardian at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.
HB 391 would also require that the notice be delivered in a sealed envelope addressed to the parent or guardian and delivered by courier or similar service. Physicians would be required to keep records of all notifications.
There is a limited amount of research on the effect of so-called parental notification laws. Some research indicates that these laws have led to an increased number of minors traveling to states with less restrictive laws or to states that do not mandate parental involvement to access abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
HB 391 was passed by the house regulatory and public affairs committee by a 4-3 vote along party lines, and by the judiciary committee by a 7-6 vote, also along party lines.
The house regulatory and public affairs committee on February 20 held a hearing on HB 390 for several hours, hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses both in favor and opposed to the bill.
The committee heard testimony from Rachael Riley, who was among activists who campaigned against the Albuquerque ballot measure that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. During that campaign, Riley said she became pregnant, and later needed an abortion in an emergency.
The anti-choice proposal provides an exemption for anyone with a religious objection to abortion to not participate in the procedure. This exemption has been pushed by New Mexico’s Roman Catholic bishops, among others in the state’s anti-choice movement.
Supporters of HB 390 claim the legislation would bring the state in line with 42 other states that have similar bans. “We have an opportunity to speak for the unborn. To me, this is not a choice,” said Rep. Herrell, reported the Albuquerque Journal.
Forty-two states prohibit some abortions after a certain point in pregnancy. Among those states, there are 18 that impose bans after a certain number of weeks, and ten that ban abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
After the hearing, HB 390 was passed by the committee in a 4-3 vote along party lines. House Democrats said in a statement after the vote that the bill would take away complex and personal decisions to have an abortion later in pregnancy from a woman, her family, and her doctor.
“I am disappointed that House Republicans voted to insert the government into a very personal decision,” Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque) said in the statement. “Politicians and the government cannot have a say in this deeply personal decision.”
After being referred to the house judiciary committee, the bill was passed Friday by a 7-6 vote, again along party lines.
Recent legislative sessions have seen Democrats prevent anti-choice legislation from moving beyond the committee level. That is no longer an option with Republicans in control of the house.
“We know that if there’s a big shift that we would be facing a whole new committee—which is where we have usually been able to defend women’s reproductive health and get any harmful bills off the table,” Adriann Barboa, field director for Strong Families New Mexico, told Rewire in the run-up to November’s election.
If passed, HB 390 would not just affect access to later abortion care in New Mexico, but also throughout the region. There are significant restrictions on both access and the amount of reproductive health care available in neighboring states. Texas and Oklahoma both have bans on abortion after 20 weeks.
New Mexico has become the only option for some women in the Southwest, where they can receive a full range of reproductive health-care options. In order to accommodate that need after serveral abortion restrictions took effect in Texas, Whole Woman’s Health opened a clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
What are the next steps for the U.S. House of Representatives investigation into a market of aborted “baby body parts” that according to all other accounts—three other congressional committees, 13 states, and a Texas grand jury—doesn’t exist?
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the chair of the so-called Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, said she had not decided on the topic of the next hearing, nor whether to subpoena the leader of the anti-choice front group fueling the investigation.
“We’ll have something that we’ll look at in September, but no decisions [yet],” Blackburn said in a July 14 interview with Rewire.
“I think it’s inappropriate to predetermine any decisions,” Blackburn said about the possibility of a Daleiden appearance before the panel. “We’re an investigative panel. We’re going go where the facts take us.”
The interim update indicates that the investigation will continue to focus on later abortion care. Blackburn, however, deflected questions about targeting later abortion care in her interview with Rewire.
“We’re going to pursue getting the truth and delivering a report that is factual, that is truthful, and can be utilized by the authorizing committees,” Blackburn said in response to a question about the contempt charges at the press conference.
Blackburn and her fellow Republicans had no such reservations about going after Democrats on the panel. They accused Democrats of furnishing subpoena recipients with a memo to subvert requests for information. The final pages of the interim update includes a chart alleging the extent to which various organizations, hospitals, procurement companies, abortion providers, and others have or have not complied with the subpoenas.
Emails obtained by Rewire show a Democratic staffer refuting such accusations last month. Democrats produced their own status update for members, not a memo advising noncompliance for subpoena recipients, the staffer said in a June email to a Republican counterpart on the panel.
But the two Republicans also have something else in common: They are brazenly anti-immigrant.
Despite a misleading article from the Daily Beast asserting that Pence has had a “love affair with immigration reform” and has “spent his political career decrying anti-immigrant rhetoric,” the governor’s record on immigration tells a different story.
Let’s take a look at Trump’s “xenophobic” and “racist” campaign thus far, and how closely Pence’s voting aligns with that position.
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Despite being called “racist” by members of his own party, Trump’s immigration plan is largely consistent with what many Republicans have called for: a larger border wall, increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, requiring all U.S. companies to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of employees, increasing the use of detention for those who are undocumented and currently residing in the United States, and ending “birthright citizenship,” which would mean the U.S.-born children of undocumented parents would be denied citizenship.
Again, Trump’s proposed immigration policies align with the Republican Party’s, but it is the way that he routinely spreads false, damaging information about undocumented immigrants that is worrisome. Trump has repeatedly said that economically, undocumented immigrants are “killing us”by “taking our jobs, taking our manufacturing jobs, taking our money.”
Market Watch, a publication focusing on financial news, reported that this falsehood is something that a bulk of Trump supporters believe; two-thirds of Trump supporters surveyed in the primaries said they feel immigration is a burden on our country “because ‘they take our jobs, housing and health care.'” This, despite research that says deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants who currently call the United States home would result in a “massive economic hit” for Trump’s home state of New York, which receives $793 million in tax revenuefrom undocumented immigrants. A recent report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy also found that at the state and local level, undocumented immigrants nationwide collectively pay an estimated $11.6 billion each year in taxes.
Wendy Feliz, a spokesperson with the American Immigration Council, succinctly summarized Pence’s immigration approach to Rewire, saying on Monday that he “basically falls into a camp of being more restrictive on immigration, someone who looks for more punitive ways to punish immigrants, rather than looking for the positive ways our country can benefit from immigrants.”
After Trump’s announcement that Pence would be his running mate, Immigration Impact, a project of the American Immigration Council, outlined what voters should know about Pence’s immigration record:
Pence’s record shows he used his time in Congress and as the Governor of Indiana to pursue extreme and punitive immigration policies earning him a 100 percent approval rating by the anti-immigration group, Federation for American Immigration Reform.
In 2004 when Pence was a senator, he voted for the “Undocumented Alien Emergency Medical Assistance Amendments.” The bill failed, but it would have required hospitals to gather and report information on undocumented patients before hospitals could be reimbursed for treating them. Even worse, the bill wouldn’t have required hospitals to provide care to undocumented patients if they could be deported to their country of origin without a “significant chance” of their condition getting worse.
Though it’s true that in 2006 Pence championed comprehensive immigration reform, as the Daily Beast reported, the reform came with two caveats: a tightening of border security and undocumented immigrants would have to “self-deport” and come back as guest workers. While calling for undocumented immigrants to self-deport may seem like the more egregious demand, it’s important to contextualize Pence’s call for an increase in border security.
This tactic of calling for more Border Patrol agents is commonly used by politicians to pacify those opposed to any form of immigration reform. President Obama, who has utilized more border security than any other president, announced deferred action for the undocumented in June 2012, while also promising to increase border security. But in 2006 when Pence was calling for an increase in border security, the border enforcement policy known as “Operation Gatekeeper” was still in full swing. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Operation Gatekeeper “concentrated border agents and resources along populated areas, intentionally forcing undocumented immigrants to extreme environments and natural barriers that the government anticipated would increase the likelihood of injury and death.” Pence called for more of this, although the undocumented population expanded significantly even when border enforcement resources escalated. The long-term results, the ACLU reported, were that migrants’ reliance on smugglers to transport themincreased and migrant deaths multiplied.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, “when a child who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is apprehended by immigration authorities, the child is transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Federal law requires that ORR feed, shelter, and provide medical care for unaccompanied children until it is able to release them to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings.”
While we feel deep compassion for these children, our country must secure its borders and provide for a legal and orderly immigration process …. Failure to expedite the return of unaccompanied children thwarts the rule of law and will only continue to send a distorted message that illegally crossing into America is without consequence.
In the four days since Pence was named Trump’s running mate, he’s also taken a much harsher stance on Muslim immigration. Back in December when Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” Pence tweeted that banning Muslims from entering the United States was “offensive and unconstitutional.” However, on Friday when Pence was officially named Trump’s VP pick, he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “I am very supportive of Donald Trump’s call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorist influence and impact represents a threat to the United States.”
Wendy Feliz of the American Immigration Council told Rewire that while Pence’s rhetoric may not be as inflammatoryas Trump’s, it’s important to look at his record in relation to Trump’s to get a better understanding of what the Republican ticket intends to focus on moving into a possible presidency. Immigration, she said, is one of the most pressing issues of our time and has become a primary focus of the election.
“In a few days, we’ll have a better sense of the particular policies the Republican ticket will be pursuing on immigration. It all appears to point to more of the same, which is punitive, the punishing of immigrants,” Feliz said. “My greatest fear is that this ticket doesn’t seem to realize immigrants are actually an incredible resource that fuels our country. I don’t think Trump and Pence is a ticket that values that. An administration that doesn’t value immigrants, that doesn’t value what’s fueled our country for the past several hundred years, hurts all of us. Not just immigrants themselves, but every single American.”