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Gov Lujan Grisham: Again prioritizing abortion rights over citizen's welfare

Updated: May 15, 2021

In a recent announcement to the public, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that the Covid-19 virus is spreading through the state at an unprecedented rate. She asked those living in New Mexico to once again stay at home, prohibited gatherings of more than five people, and placed new restrictions on businesses like bars, restaurants, and hotels.

In addition to the orders placed on New Mexican's themselves, Grisham says those traveling from outside the state will be required to undergo a mandatory quarantine. That mandatory quarantine is possibly exceeding 14 days if traveling from high-risk states. All this is an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 and avoid overwhelming the healthcare system in this uncertain time.

These increased lockdown measures, which are said to be for the benefit and safety of the public, fail to address a significant area of concern by not including New Mexico's destination abortion industry in its new increased lockdown mandates. Because New Mexico allows abortion up to birth, has no parental consent laws, no waiting period laws, and provides publicly funded abortions for out-of-state patients, women travel from all over the US and Canada to obtain abortions in the outpatient facilities there.

"There is an increased need for emergency room services and ICU beds, and our hospitals cannot be overburdened by nonresidents who are injured at facilities like Southwestern Women's Options during this crucial time," says attorney Mike Seibel. "With the extensive list of people being injured at SWO, we need orders in place not to consume unnecessary resources."

There is a valid concern that just one Albuquerque abortion facility alone sent 17 women to the hospital in less than 4 years. If women are exempt from Covid-19 restrictions due to their desire to obtain an abortion, New Mexico residents could ultimately be the ones paying the price. Not only is the risk of hospital attention being spent on the abortion injuries of non-residents a factor, but there is also added risk to the public by allowing out-of-state patients to electively come to New Mexico for a 3-4 day procedure. Patients obtaining late-term abortions at outpatient facilities, such as Curtis Boyd's Albuquerque clinic, are required to travel back and forth from clinic to hotel room for multiple days as they undergo induction abortion procedures.

Abortion On Trial's Executive Director, Jamie Jeffries, says, "Abortion tourism creates the perfect environment for the spread of Covid. Women are traveling from out of state, stopping at an undisclosed number of gas stations or airports along the way. They will have to come in contact with New Mexicans to get a hotel room. They will have to come in contact with New Mexicans in order to eat or drink during their multi-day stay, all while coming and going from an outpatient facility that is known to have failed health inspections. Keeping these clinics open is a medical crisis."

According to the government's own website, medical facilities are at extreme risk for Covid-19 outbreaks. Medical facilities have elicited the most responses from rapid response teams in New Mexico. The Governor has warned New Mexico citizens against going to El Paso and surrounding areas due to the recent extreme rise in cases there. In fact, El Paso abortion facilities are closed and are now referring to New Mexico clinics to avoid further spread in their own community.

According to Mark Caveliere, who is the Executive Director of the Southwest Coalition For Life, "Starting October 14th, just a day after Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a medical response team to El Paso for a sudden and overwhelming surge of Covid-19 cases, multiple sources, from abortion facility security guards to women seeking abortions, have confirmed that while El Paso abortion centers are closed women are being referred to travel from El Paso, Texas, to Albuquerque abortion facilities despite the recent outbreak."

New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham has also made recent statements addressing the need for pregnant women to alter birth plans due to hospital overcrowding. If New Mexico's destination travel industry is locked down, and women are being told to change their birth plans to accommodate medical providers with room for Covid patients, then the state's abortion destination industry should be restricted and altered as well.

Dominique Davis of New Mexico's Project Defending Life posted on social media, saying, "Governor, I hope you remain consistent and ensure that pregnant women are given the care they need and deserve. You ensured that women were able to access abortion in NM at the height of the pandemic. You let hundreds travel from out of state to obtain one. Make maternal health care a priority, too."

The double standard given to abortion providers in New Mexico is not something that can be ignored when that double standard presents a threat to the safety of the public. Out of state travelers should not be exempt from mandatory quarantines simply because they are traveling to New Mexico for an elective abortion. If Governor Lujan Grisham truly cares for the safety of those living in New Mexico, she will extend restrictive orders to destination abortion facilities immediately.

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