NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Abortion clinics in New Mexico are busier than ever. A big part of that is because of the very restrictive abortion law in Texas.
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For the last 20 years, the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice has helped people living in rural New Mexico travel to Albuquerque to get an abortion, providing food, a place to stay, and transportation. Now, that mission is expanding to serve hundreds of women in Texas.
“We are seeing 3-4 times the number of people we saw before,” said Joan Lamunyon Sanford of the NMRCRC.
Six months ago, Texas passed a law banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is about six weeks gestation, sparking widespread protests. “Abortion access is hanging on by a thread,” said Kristina Toccee with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Some of our centers have seen an over 500% increase.”
Toccee says New Mexico clinics have served 800 patients from Texas since Sept. 1. The latest numbers show in all of 2019, 2,735 abortions were performed in New Mexico.
“Right now, we are in a crisis mode. We are doing everything we can, the volume has increased, we’re doing everything we can not to turn people away, to decrease wait times, but that’s not sustainable long term,” Toccee said.
The NMRCRC is also hiring more staff and working overtime to serve as many women as possible but says the future is alarming as more states consider passing similar laws and the country awaits a US Supreme Court decision on abortion care.
“I’m just so proud New Mexico is a place people will be able to come to access abortion care, they shouldn’t have to though,” said Sanford.
New Mexico has one of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country, making it legal at all stages of pregnancy. There have been many attempts over the years to outlaw abortions after two weeks in New Mexico, but all have failed.