New frontline of U.S. abortion fights emerges in New Mexico By Reuters


© Reuters. Michael Seibel, an Albuquerque based anti-abortion attorney, speaks to those participating in an anti-abortion rally beyond the Hobbs City Commission Chamber in Hobbs, New Mexico, U.S., October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Brad Brooks


By Brad Brooks

CLOVIS, New Mexico (Reuters) -The brand-new frontline of the U.S. abortion fight is on the remote plains of New Mexico, where 2 conservative towns are set to disallow the medical treatment in spite of it staying legal in the state after Roe v. Wade was overruled.

The towns of Clovis and Hobbs do not even have abortion centers however are tactical, activists and clinicians state, since they are near the border with Texas, to the east. Texas was among the very first states to enforce a near-total restriction on abortion and companies might confront life in jail there.

The New Mexican abortion service provider within closest grab a lot of Texas females is presently in Albuquerque – about a four-hour drive from Clovis and 5 hours from Hobbs.

Reuters participated in current city commission conferences in both Clovis and Hobbs where the anti-abortion regulations were advanced and has actually gained from among the biggest independent abortion companies in the United States that the legal relocations have actually triggered it to reevaluate establishing a center in eastern New Mexico.

Anti-abortion activists hope other towns will follow Clovis and Hobbs to significantly diminish where abortions are still carried out, particularly in other states managed by Democrats. Activists in New Mexico defending females’s access to safe abortions fear a brand-new battle is concerning these “blue” states.

Clovis and Hobbs are most likely to deal with legal difficulties, however comparable procedures have actually endured suits in Texas. Voters in Lubbock, Texas, which is near the New Mexico border, forbidden abortion in 2021. Planned Parenthood was not successful in its difficulty of the Lubbock regulation, and its center in the Texas town stopped offering abortions even prior to Roe fell.

“Anti-abortion forces, now that they don’t need to pay attention to Texas and Mississippi and Alabama and Louisiana anymore, they’re starting to focus on what I call the ‘new frontier’,” stated Amy Hagstrom Miller, the CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, among the country’s biggest independent companies of abortion.


The town-level method is the creation of a Christian pastor and a conservative attorney who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was a critic of Roe.

Mark Lee Dickson, a pastor and head of the Right to Life of East Texas, established the “sanctuary cities for the unborn” motion in 2019. In New Mexico, Dickson dealt with conservative attorney Jonathan Mitchell, who was the designer of Texas’ 2021 “heartbeat” abortion law.

The increase of abortion-seeking females from Texas and word that a center might open in their towns is what drove pastors in Clovis and Hobbs to connect to Dickson.

“We know that abortion providers want to set up right here in these cities that are just minutes away from the Texas border,” Dickson stated after the Oct. 17 city commission conference in Hobbs advanced the regulation there. “They want to attract as many Texas residents as possible for abortions right here in New Mexico.”

Both Clovis and Hobbs lie in a much more conservative portion of the state than the more liberal locations around Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Residents here bristle that their state is managed by political leaders who do not share their views on lots of concerns, consisting of ecological policies affecting the location’s enormous petroleum market, pandemic constraints and abortion.

“We hope this sends the message to our state legislature that there are pro-life cities out there and we want to self-determine on this issue,” Clovis Mayor Mike Morris stated on Oct. 13 when his town advanced the proposed restriction.

But Laura Wight, a 45-year-old Clovis resident who assisted discovered Eastern New Mexico Rising, a regional progressive group opposed to the proposed abortion regulation, stated the step was an attack on the rights of regional females and those in Texas who might look for safe abortions in eastern New Mexico.

Wight stated she has actually connected to the ACLU which her group will go to the Nov. 3 Clovis city commission conference where a last vote is anticipated on the regulation. She hopes the step will not pass however states it likely will.

“Many states are in danger of facing similar situations,” Wight stated. “That’s the crux of it. That’s why the overturning of Roe v. Wade and leaving that decision up to the states is such a big deal. Because when it’s left up to the states, you’re at the mercy of whoever is in charge of the state at that particular time, or in this case, the local government.”

The possibility of countless Texas females looking for abortion concerning New Mexico in part led New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to allocate $10 million for a reproductive health care center in the location of Las Cruces, situated 210 miles (340 km) west of Hobbs.

New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas informed Reuters that he was worried at advancements in Clovis and Hobbs and had actually directed personnel to “evaluate this recent activity, due to the city’s legal obligation to protect access to healthcare for women and families.”

Nora Meyers Sackett, journalism secretary for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, informed Reuters that the regulations, if passed, would be an affront to the rights and autonomy of all females in the area.

“New Mexico law is clear – reproductive health care is legal and protected throughout the state,” she stated.

After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and its federal abortion defenses in June, Hagstrom Miller, the CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, was required to close down the group’s abortion centers in Texas.

Hagstrom Miller stated she will open centers in New Mexico and is thinking about opening a center in Clovis or Hobbs, in big part to serve females showing up from Texas. But the possibility of “sanctuary” regulations has actually offered her time out about running in eastern New Mexico.

“In this post-Dobbs era, where anti-abortion folks are emboldened, I want to be sure we’re in a place where our patients can be safe, where our doctors and our staff can be safe,” she stated.


The regulations both Clovis and Hobbs are set to pass rest upon federal law from the 1940s that prohibits utilizing the U.S. Postal Service or a personal provider such as FedEx (NYSE:) to mail or provide anything “designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion.” The cities would require that abortion centers comply with that federal law to acquire a city license to run.

“We don’t think any abortion facility will agree to do that. If a clinic agreed to follow that federal law, we don’t believe they would be able to carry out abortions, for lack of materials,” stated Dickson, the anti-abortion activist from Texas.

Michael Seibel, an Albuquerque-based anti-abortion attorney who talked to Dickson and Mitchell on the Clovis and Hobbs proposed regulations, stated he hopes the design will be followed in Democratic-managed states throughout the nation.

The U.S. Supreme Court choice in June reversed the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade judgment that acknowledged females’s constitutional right to abortion. That offered states the power to prohibit abortion. Seibel proposes surpassing state-by-state to locality-by-locality.

“New Mexico and many other blue states are actually pro-life states that are just dominated by one or two big cities,” Seibel stated, speaking in Hobbs after the city commission offered its initial approval to the “sanctuary” regulation on Oct. 17. “The vast majority of towns and villages throughout a blue state may in fact be pro-life.”

A last vote in Hobbs is set Nov. 7.

Polling performed by the Pew Research Center has actually displayed in the past that while a bulk think abortion needs to be legal in a minimum of some cases, 45% of grownups in New Mexico think that abortion needs to be “illegal in all/most cases.”

Ellie Rushforth, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in Albuquerque, stated the proposed regulations break the state constitution. She sent out a letter to Clovis city commission members stating passing the regulation would “expose the city and its citizens to potentially significant liability.”

Rushforth stated the ACLU stood all set to safeguard females’s right to reproductive care.

“They’re using our communities as testing grounds for dubious legal theories,” she stated.

Read more:

U.S. abortion center goes up the street to get away one state’s restriction

EXPLAINER-How abortion ended up being a dissentious concern in U.S. politics

How Texas’ abortion restriction harms Big Oil’s effort to change its labor force

BROADER IMAGE-With U.S. abortion gain access to in jeopardy, this physician takes a trip to fill a space


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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