Governor asks Biden to help protect women - Albuquerque Journal

Governor asks Biden to help protect women

Demonstrators march on Central on Friday evening, demanding that President Biden take immediate action for abortion rights. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and several other governors took part in a summit earlier in the day with Biden to discuss steps his administration could take to protect access to abortion care after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham urged President Joe Biden on Friday to take federal action to protect women in states that have banned abortion in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned nearly 50 years of legal precedent.

During a remote summit hosted by the White House, Lujan Grisham said New Mexico would be a “brick wall” against attempts to restrict abortion access in other states.

But, with New Mexico already experiencing an influx of patients from Texas and other states seeking abortion services, she said the federal government should ramp up its efforts to assist in a state with limited health care facilities and a chronic nursing shortage.

“There’s a number of things we could use your assistance and your leadership (on),” Lujan Grisham said Friday.

Specifically, the governor said clinics run by the federal Indian Health Service could play a role in providing reproductive health care services, a suggestion that Biden said he would consider.

However, Biden also said there are currently not enough votes in the U.S. Senate to get a bill codifying abortion in federal law to his desk for approval.

President Joe Biden participates in a virtual meeting with Democratic governors, including New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, on the issue of abortion rights, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Friday, July 1, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Lujan Grisham was one of several Democratic governors – others included North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul – who were invited to discuss with Biden the steps they have taken after the U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Earlier this week, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order aimed at protecting abortion providers and patients by, among other things, asserting that the state will not comply with abortion-related arrest warrants and extradition requests from other states.

She and Democratic legislative leaders in New Mexico have also said other steps could be taken, including enshrining abortion rights in state law, or perhaps the state Constitution, though doing so would require approval of statewide voters.

However, New Mexico Republicans accused the governor of “political theater” in signing the executive order and said she should have instead called a legislative special session to craft new laws.

“Lujan Grisham is just beating the drum again in a rallying cry,” state GOP 1st Congressional District vice chairwoman Leticia Munoz said in a statement. “The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling doesn’t affect New Mexico and our state continues to be the late-term abortion capital of the country – up to and including the day of birth.”

Meanwhile, Lujan Grisham, who is seeking reelection this year to a second term, also warned Friday that other legal precedents – including same-sex marriage – could be undone by the Supreme Court.

“What we do today in the space for protecting reproductive rights absolutely should move in the direction to prepare to protect everyone’s additional privacy rights, including making sure we don’t roll backwards on same-sex marriage and other related issues,” Lujan Grisham said.

The New Mexico Supreme Court in 2013 legalized same-sex marriage, saying the right is protected under the state Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court then followed suit by legalizing same-sex marriage nationally in 2015.

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