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Reproductive and Gender Affirming Health Care Bill Clears State Senate

State Senate debates and votes to approve HB 7 Tuesday at Roundhouse.
Kevin Meerschaert
State Senate debates and votes to approve HB 7 Tuesday at Roundhouse.

The New Mexico State Senate has passed the Reproductive and Gender Affirming Health Care Bill but not before a long and often emotional debate on the Floor.

The bill HB7 is designed to prevent a public body in New Mexico from banning abortion or other reproductive and gender affirming health care.

The Act states a public body shall not impose or continue in effect any law, ordinance, policy or regulation that violates or conflicts with the provisions of the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Freedom Act.

Anti-abortion ordinances have been adopted in places like Hobbs, Clovis, Eunice and Lea and Roosevelt Counties.

Senate sponsor Katy Duhigg says gender-affirming care saves lives.

“It is one of the most influential factors in the health, safety, and life expectancy for trans and nonbinary individuals,” she said. “I think it was Sen. Woods who said we can’t legislate to change people’s minds. I agree with him on that. This law isn’t going to change minds, but what we can do with this law is change behavior. We can ensure that public bodies who are supposed to keep all of us safe aren’t able to use their power to block access to life saving care and discriminate against New Mexicans.”       

Emotions ran high as lawmakers told their own and family stories about being gay and transgender, and some of the troubles they have had to face, and from Republicans issues regarding how some women who had an abortion later regretted it and not wanting any minors to get such care without informing their parents.

  Since some amendments were added on the Senate side, HB7 now has to go back to the House for a concurrence vote before heading to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham who says she will sign it into law.