Two bills to restrict abortion access died Sunday in a New Mexico Senate committee, despite Republican lawmakers’ attempts to circumvent the committee process and bring both bills to the floor for a vote.
The Senate Public Affairs Committee voted 5-3 along party lines to table both bills, blocking them from further consideration by lawmakers during the 2015 legislative session.
HB 390, introduced by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo), would further restrict abortions past the first trimester of pregnancy. The bill amends the state’s existing “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban” to include a ban on abortions of a viable fetus, which the bill describes as a fetus of 20 weeks’ gestation.
Supporters of the legislation cited the scientifically inaccurate claim of so-called “fetal pain” as justification for the restriction. “During late-term abortion, the babies are often conscious while they’re torn apart from limb to limb,” 10-year-old Estefan Henderson said during his testimony, reported KOB-TV.
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Herrell said she was disappointed with the committee’s vote. “At the end of the day we’re talking about a viable human being that can live outside the woman’s [womb] with or without life support,” Herrell said, as reported by the Associated Press.
“I think consultation with their family and their doctor and their god, that’s the best place where this decision can be made,” said Sen. Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque), reported KRQE.
HB 391, introduced by House Majority Whip Alonzo Baldonado (R-Los Lunas), would require physicians to provide notice of a planned abortion procedure for a non-emancipated minor to one parent or guardian at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.
After a committee hearing attended by more than 200 people that lasted more than four hours, according to AP reports, committee members voted to block the anti-choice bills before they reached the full senate.
Both bills were passed by the house this month, as Republicans were able to use their new 37-33 majority to push through anti-choice legislation. However, Democrats maintain a 25-17 majority in the senate, which made it unlikely that the legislation would ever make it to the desk of Gov. Susana Martinez (R).