ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Supreme Court’s decision will not affect New Mexico in quite the same way as surrounding states because New Mexico repealed the abortion ban last year. However, abortion services in New Mexico are expected to see a huge influx of patients from other states.
Kayla Herring, the director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, says with many surrounding states poised to enact ‘abortion bans,’ they’ve already seen a significant increase in patients—and only expect it to get higher.
“New Mexico is poised to be one of six states who see over a 50% in patients needing access and having to travel out of state,” Herring says. She says after Texas passed Senate Bill 8 last year restricting abortions, they saw a dramatic increase of Texas patients: a jump from around 400 patients prior to 1700 patients in the year since.
New Mexico allows abortion at all stages of pregnancy. According to the CDC: 3,942 abortions were performed in New Mexico in 2019. With the 2021 repeal of the abortion ban in the state, there are no laws on the books banning it and lawmakers and organizations spoke about the reality of New Mexico’s role in the region:
“New Mexico of course along with our neighbor to the north the State of Colorado: we are the island in the middle of the red. In the sea of red. We have an opportunity to work and support our sisters from other states who will be looking for support and services,” says State Senator Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque).
“When abortion health centers begin to be at capacity for the care they’re able to provide we’re also going to see stress on our health system of people that are not able to go into a Planned Parenthood or another reproductive health center to access STI treatment and testing and prevention, birth control, and pregnancy exams,” Herring says.
According to the Center for Reproductive Freedom, among those surrounding states—Texas and Oklahoma have among the most restrictive bans currently in place, banning abortion after six weeks. Abortion currently remains legal in Kansas and Colorado.
Herring says they were not surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision, and have been preparing for the expected influx of patients for a number of months. They needed to increase staff to keep up with the demand after the Texas ruling in 2021.