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New Mexico shields abortion providers ahead of expected patient surge

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New Mexico is one of six states allowing late-term abortions.

PHOTO: AFP

TAOS, New Mexico (REUTERS) – New Mexico’s governor signed an order on Monday (June 27) she said was aimed at protecting abortion providers as the state prepared for an influx of patients and clinics from states set to ban the procedure.

The move follows similar actions by the governors of Massachusetts and Minnesota, where abortion also remains legal, after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had made the practice a constitutional right.

New Mexico, one of six states allowing late-term abortions, expects a rise in patients from neighbouring states such as Texas and Oklahoma, which are implementing near-complete bans on the procedure following the court’s decision upholding a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“Late-term” abortions are relatively rare and generally take place later in pregnancy, such at near the end of the second trimester if the woman’s health is at risk or when lethal fetal abnormalities have been detected.

Michelle Lujan Grisham said her executive order protects providers from attempts by states to remove licences or seek extraditions for giving abortions to out-of-state and New Mexico residents.

“We will not cooperate with any criminalisation attempt,” Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, told reporters.

Providers from across the country are expected to move to New Mexico as conservative states outlaw their clinics and women flock to cities like Albuquerque, where they can still operate.

Mississippi’s last abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, last Friday said it was moving to Las Cruces in southern New Mexico. The clinic, known as the Pink House, was at the centre of the Supreme Court case.

Mississippi is among 13 states with “trigger laws” designed to ban or severely restrict abortions once the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Lujan Grisham in 2021 signed a bill to overturn New Mexico’s 1969 trigger law banning most abortion procedures.

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