Last week, Democratic members of the New Mexico Senate promised that HB 390 the Late-Term Abortion Ban and HB 391 Parental Notification of Abortion would be given a fair hearing in the Senate Public Affairs and Senate Judiciary committees.
However, last Sunday, the five Democrats on the Senate Public Affairs Committee choose to ignore expert medical testimony from doctors with first-hand abortion and operating room experience in hastily tabling the bills. Instead, they voted in lock-step with the abortion industry to block the Late Term Abortion Ban Act and the Parental Notification bills.
Firstly, all five of these Democrats represent only Bernalillo County – yes, just one single county and some of the most liberal districts in the entire state, which clearly do not represent the views of the state as a whole.
Secondly, Chairman Jerry Ortiz y Pino himself admitted that the committee members “are not experts in this area” nor did they have the knowledge or experience to make these decisions. Yet, if they admittedly were incompetent, why not move the bills to the Senate Judiciary Committee without recommendation, rather than inarticulately tabling them?
Thirdly, the incompetence that Ortiz y Pino admitted was apparent throughout the hearing. Sen. Jacob Candelaria and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto repeatedly referenced the incorrect version of HB 390, apparently ignorant of any of the adopted amendments made weeks ago in the House. They also opposed the bill without submitting a single question to the expert witness panel, which included an attorney and two doctors, one who performed over 100 late-term abortions.
Ivey-Soto’s defense of abortion up to the day of birth hinged upon his statement that the bill has a “criminal penalty.” Unfortunately for the people of New Mexico, Ivey-Soto did not even bother to read HB 390, as nowhere does it contain a criminal penalty.
He then quoted a line previously removed by amendment in the House, arrogantly haranguing the sponsor.
Candelaria, confused existing law with proposed law and failed to identify any of the amended language. He stridently condemned the current law that allows one’s moral principles to object from participating in an abortion, instead of referencing the text of HB 390.
In a true demonstration of hypocrisy, Candelaria said he could not support HB 390 because he “trusts women’s moral judgments.”
It is sad and tragic that these senators made hasty, life and death decisions using incorrect information, which amounted to nothing short of a politicized sham.
The promise to give HB 390 and HB 391 a fair hearing from Senate Democrats did not happen. Both bills were tabled by Democratic senators from one county who, according to their chairman, were unqualified to hear these bills. This was further demonstrated by the referencing of inaccurate information.
This committee mishandled life and death issues in an irresponsible, partisan manner. The New Mexico Senate should act to restore the confidence of all New Mexicans and immediately schedule HB 390 and HB 391 for a vote on the Senate floor.