NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – While abortions are still legal in New Mexico, the issue could still land the state at the center of some fierce legal battles. Deena Buchanan is an Albuquerque attorney who specializes in employment and labor laws. 

Buchanan sat down with KRQE New Mexico News Podcast for a look at new legal challenges the state could face including if employers are protected if they help women travel for an abortion. She shares, “There’s just a real lack of guidance for employers, for workers, for the public in general to make these decisions about what they can and can’t do.”

Several states have already banned abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade last week. Some are now considering charges for those who cross state lines for the procedure. “It looks like in at least one other state, there’s a bill pending to make it illegal for a citizen of that state to leave the state to get an abortion,” Buchanan said. 

Some big businesses like Nike, Tesla, and PayPal have announced that they’ll pay for travel expenses for employees who need to cross state lines for an abortion. but legally –  those companies might run into problems. “A corporation could end up getting fined or sued under a regime like that, you know, bosses who approve the time off could get criminally charged, depending on the state.”

New Mexico has already seen an increase of people coming from neighboring states to access reproductive health care like abortions. “It raises a question about whether our state may be overly burdened by citizens of other states due to the actions of other states. And so does our state have a claim against these other states?”

Governor Lujan Grisham signed an executive order saying New Mexico will have no part in the prosecution of women who come to the state for an abortion. But Buchanan clarifies that doesn’t guarantee a right to abortion – it just provides protections within what the governor can do. 

“I think the Governor did what she could with her power as the executive for the state, but she doesn’t have jurisdiction to control the actions of local police forces or county sheriffs. So I do worry about that, for sure.” She continues, “If you really want to guarantee to the right to abortion in New Mexico, we need a constitutional amendment that provides for a right to those services.”

Buchanan says there are a lot of other legal battles that could come up including employment discrimination and insurance coverage. You can hear the full episode from the New Mexico News podcast hosted by News 13’s Gabrielle Burkhart and Chris Mckee. 

President Biden said the federal government will protect women who want to travel to other states to get an abortion, and his administration will protect women’s access to medication through the Food and Drug Administration.