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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Health, Roundhouse » Abortion debate may head to legislature, but won’t be center stage

Abortion debate may head to legislature, but won’t be center stage

Roundhouse seal outsideCoverage of the proposed 20-week abortion ban in Albuquerque, which was ultimately defeated, dominated New Mexico’s political landscape for weeks. Now in the wake of the defeat and the knowledge that anti-abortion activists aren’t going anywhere, the question comes, “What’s next?”

Anti-abortion activists have made noises of bringing the issue to the state legislature — but they run into a roadblock with the 30-day session. In a 30-day session only budget matters and those put on the call by the governor are allowed. And while Gov. Susana Martinez describes herself as pro-life and hasn’t shown anything to the contrary, she also avoided wading into the controversy over the abortion ban in Albuquerque.

While the governor’s office says that Martinez hasn’t decided what to put on the call so far, a local branch of an anti-abortion group says Martinez promised the group at least one abortion-related topic would be on the call.

From the Albuquerque Journal:

However, the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico says Martinez has committed to them that she plans to allow consideration of legislation changing parental notification rules for minors receiving an abortion.

“They said if we want it on the call, we can have it, so that has been decided by the Governor’s Office,” said Dauneen Dolce, executive director of the state Right to Life Committee.

Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, says this could open the gate to more abortion related legislation.

But it is likely that, in an election year, Martinez would prefer if things like a 20-week ban, which went down by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin, were not the center of discussion in the legislative session. And Republicans in potentially tight races that will will decide the makeup of the state House likely agree.

And even if they do, it will likely follow the script from previous ears’ attempts at restricting abortion by anti-abortion legislators — a long hearing and ultimately quiet death in a House committee.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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