SANTA FE, New Mexico (LifeSiteNews) — The New Mexico state Senate last week passed a pro-abortion bill prohibiting public entities from interfering in New Mexicans’ ability to get abortions or transgender treatments. All amendments proposed by Republicans to protect conscience rights of physicians, require minors to obtain parental consent, or eliminate concerning language in the legislation that some worried could decriminalize infanticide, were shot down.
The state Senate passed the bill, H.7., known as the “Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Freedom Act,” in a 23-15 vote Tuesday. The vote came after the measure previously cleared the House in a 38-31 vote February 21 following reportedly strenuous debate.
If it becomes law, the measure would bar cities and counties from directly or indirectly interfering in someone’s efforts to obtain so-called “reproductive health care” or “gender-affirming care.”
So-called “reproductive health care” includes abortion, which is legal on demand throughout pregnancy in New Mexico. The “gender-affirming care” protected under the bill refers to using surgical and pharmaceutical means to make a person appear more like the opposite sex.
Elisa Martinez, executive director of New Mexico Alliance for Life, said that the day the bill cleared the senate “was a tragic day for our state as a majority of New Mexico Senate Dems voted in favor of radical HB 7’s unscientific infanticide, abortion and transgender mandate.”
According to the language of the legislation, “[a] public body or agent of a public body shall not discriminate against a person based on that person’s use of or refusal to use reproductive health care services.” Public entities would also be prohibited from “directly or indirectly, deny[ing], restrict[ing] or interfer[ing] with a person’s ability to access or provide reproductive health care or gender-affirming health care within the medical standard of care.”
RELATED: New Mexico bishops condemn pro-abortion bill for replacing ‘God’s vision’ with ‘shackles of the Evil One’
Efforts by public entities to “directly or indirectly” intervene in a “person’s right to act or refrain from acting during the persons’s [sic] pregnancy based on the potential, actual or perceived effect on the pregnancy” would also be prohibited under the law.
According to the legislative proposal, “reproductive health care” is defined as “psychological, behavioral, surgical, pharmaceutical and medical care, services and supplies that relate to the human reproductive system.”
Those “services and supplies” include those connected with “preventing a pregnancy … abortion … managing a pregnancy loss … ” and “ … prenatal, birth, perinatal and postpartum health.”
The measure would also authorize the state attorney general, district attorneys, and private citizens to initiate civil action against violators of the legislation. Those found guilty of running afoul of the measure could face $5,000 or more in fines paid out to the initiating party, LifeSiteNews previously reported.
While Democrat lawmakers have argued that the measure will safeguard allegedly necessary health care from outside action, opponents of the law have raised serious concerns about the scope of its language.
During debate on the Senate floor, Republican Sen. William E. Sharer attempted to eliminate the word “perinatal” from the bill through a proposed amendment, according to local news outlet KRQE.
Sen. Sharer argued that “perinatal” relates to the time after birth, suggesting that the bill would protect the murder of infants even after they’re born.
“That’s not an abortion. That is also not women’s health care,” Sharer said. “That is infanticide.”
Democratic Sen. Ortiz y Pino pushed back on Sharer’s claims, arguing that the term more precisely means “the period surrounding birth,” which “involves weeks before, during, and after birth, and it’s a term used inclusively to cover all aspects of providing care to a mother giving birth or to somebody who is having difficulty with the pregnancy.”
Republicans also attempted to add amendments to protect the conscience rights of doctors who object to performing abortions or gender procedures, and to require minors to get parental consent before accessing “reproductive health care” or transgender interventions.
Democrats argued that conscience protections already exist in the law and wouldn’t be compromised by the new legislation. One senator contended that some children can’t rely on their parents or other adults for support in accessing the specific types of “care.”
In the end, none of the proposed amendments were adopted.
Concern about the impact of the “perinatal” term in abortion-related legislation isn’t unique to New Mexico’s HB 7.
LifeSiteNews has previously reported that a pro-abortion law in California also included similar language, leading pro-life advocates to raise serious concerns about how the law could be interpreted.
California’s AB 2223, signed by the state’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, was dubbed “the infanticide bill” by pro-life critics who argued it could decriminalize some forms of infanticide by prohibiting the investigation or prosecution of any woman or abortionist for “pregnancy outcomes,” including abortion, miscarriage, and “perinatal death.”
Though a later draft of the California law was amended to specify “perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero,” sources told LifeSiteNews the amended language remains problematic and could still decriminalize the murder of infants outside the womb.
California Right to Life outreach director Mary Rose Short told LifeSite at the time that since the bill “penalizes state authorities who investigate infant deaths,” it is still “effectively legalizing infanticide.”
Jeffrey Trissell, special counsel with the conservative Thomas More Society, told LifeSite the amended version of the bill decriminalizes fatal neglect after botched abortions.
“This statute seems intended to make sure that we no longer have any abortion survivors,” Trissell said.
READ: California Senate passes radical pro-abortion bill ‘effectively legalizing infanticide’
For its part, New Mexico’s pro-abortion law advanced again Friday after being sent back to the House for a review of revisions.
It’s unclear whether New Mexico’s governor plans to sign the measure, but she has thrown her support behind pro-abortion legislation in the past.
Last summer, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order to make New Mexico a sanctuary for abortion in opposition to pro-life states.
The order specifically “prohibits state agencies from cooperating in another state’s investigation into a person or other entity for receiving or delivering reproductive services.”
Late last year, Grisham doubled down on her pro-abortion advocacy, signing another executive order to allocate $10 million for an abortion facility near the border of pro-life Texas.
The money is also intended to “expand abortion access in rural and underserved parts of the state, work to make abortion medications available in state public health clinics,” as well as cut back “wait times” and bolster “access statewide,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.>
New Mexico residents are invited to reach out to their legislators to make their voices heard with regard to H.B. 7.