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Bill targeting NM abortion law advances to Senate floor

The state Capitol in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — A bill to repeal a long-dormant New Mexico abortion ban is steaming toward a full Senate vote, possibly by as soon as next week.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 on Wednesday to advance the legislation, Senate Bill 10, with Democrats voting in favor and the panel’s Republican members voting in opposition.

A similar push to repeal the 1969 law that makes it a felony for a woman to get an abortion, except for in limited circumstances, was defeated in the Senate two years ago.

But several moderate Democrats who voted against the 2019 bill are no longer in the Senate — several were ousted in last year’s primary election — and backers of the legislation are optimistic about the bill’s odds for passage.

The bill has generated emotional debate, with critics raising moral objections and saying it could cause health care practitioners to leave New Mexico.

The targeted state law is unenforceable now because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but supporters said they fear the court will revisit the landmark abortion ruling given changes to the court’s makeup during the presidency of Donald Trump.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports the abortion legislation and has said she will sign it into law if it reaches her desk.

A similar House bill has also cleared its two assigned committees and is also awaiting a full chamber vote.

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