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New Mexico Anti-Choice Copycat Bill Dies in Committee

Nicole Knight

The bill drew heavily on copycat legislation, "The Born Alive Infant Protection Act," authored by Americans United for Life, an anti-choice legislation mill.

A bipartisan committee voted Saturday to block a Republican-backed New Mexico bill that called for state inspectors to monitor abortion clinics for unproven claims of fetuses being “born alive” during abortion procedures.

The bill drew heavily on copycat legislation, “The Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” authored by Americans United for Life (AUL), an anti-choice legislation mill.

Congress in 2002 passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, with President George W. Bush signing it into law. The federal legislation was also based on specious claims from activists and legislators opposed to abortion rights.

Rep. Andy Nuñez (R-Hatch) joined five Democrats on the House Health Committee to quash HB 275 in a 6-4 vote, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

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Sponsored by Reps. Rod Montoya (R-Farmington) and Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo), the bill would have created a five-person task force of employees from the state’s Department of Health and the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department “to monitor born alive births.” The task force would have performed monthly inspections of abortion clinics, interviewed health-care professionals, and made annual reports to the state legislature. The bill reiterated existing state law that makes killing an infant a felony punishable by life imprisonment.

Similar Republican-backed acts in Colorado and Minnesota failed to pass last year.

Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), a member of the House Health Committee, said in a statement released after the vote that HB 275 “ignores medical standards of care, vilifies healthcare providers, scares patients, and inserts the government in personal and sometimes tragic medical decisions.”

“This is the LAST place that politicians should interfere,” Armstrong noted. “This legislation is unnecessary and is part of the larger effort to mislead the public and ban abortion altogether.”

Abortion rights foes have used the unproven claim of abortion providers killing newborns to attack safe, legal access to reproductive health care, as Rewire has reported.

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina in October attempted to stoke the baseless notion of aborted fetuses being “born alive,” saying she saw a live fetus in an anti-choice smear video released by a front group called the Center for Medical Progress. Fiorina’s tale was soundly and rapidly discredited.

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