NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Another New Mexico county has proposed an ordinance to stop abortion clinics from operating. The Roosevelt County Commission is trying to do it using a land use ordinance, basically prohibiting facilities that are used to terminate a healthy pregnancy.
During the meeting, Roosevelt County residents said that, although they’re in favor of preventing abortion clinics from opening, they’re worried about the potential consequences if the ordinance passes.
“I’m concerned that if you pass something like this that is specifically anti-abortion, in a state where abortion is still considered legal…I’m concerned that this could result in a lawsuit against the county,” says Todd, a Roosevelt County resident. Commissioner Rodney Savage agreed, saying while the entire commission and a majority of its residents are against abortion, there are problems with this ordinance.
In order to enact it, the commission must have a comprehensive land use plan in place and zoning codes, which they do not, and there are other issues as well. “If we don’t follow state statute, we don’t follow the law, yes we can pass this moratorium, but if we do without following the statutes, it can’t be enforced,” says Commissioner Rodney Savage.
The Hobbs City Commission did approve a measure last week that does not ban abortion outright, but instead draws on a decades-old federal law still on the books, prohibiting supplies or medications needed for abortion, from being sent through the mail. Clovis is looking at doing something similar.
The Roosevelt County Commission tabled their decision for now. Savage did suggest they look at doing something similar to Hobbs, but there was no further discussion.
These proposed ordinances by conservative New Mexico counties came following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, putting abortion laws in the hands of the states.
In 2021, the state legislature repealed the abortion ban in New Mexico that had been in place since 1969, anticipating the ruling. That makes abortion here legal at all stages.