EDGEWOOD, N.M. (KRQE) – Another New Mexico community is grappling with how to handle abortion in the wake of recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Tuesday, April 25, Edgewood, N.M. is set to discuss (in a public meeting) a ballot question that could let locals bring civil lawsuits against anyone who violates certain federal abortion laws.
Edgewood isn’t the first community to consider setting local rules relating to abortion. Supporters of such ordinances argue that shipping abortion medication is illegal under a federal law passed in 1873, known as the Comstock Act. Opponents point out that the law has been narrowed over the years and rarely enforced.
The proposed ordinance in Edgewood rests on the debate over the Comstock Act. According to attorneys who have already weighed in on the proposal, the local ordinance would only let individuals sue for violation of the Comstock Act if the U.S. Supreme Court determines that it’s illegal to violate the Comstock Act without proof of intent that the mailed drugs are to be used for abortion.
Here in New Mexico, the state Supreme Court recently ordered some towns and locales to suspend local abortion-related ordinances as lawsuits over the ordinances are worked out. As for Edgewood’s proposed ordinance, some state politicians have already said they’re planning on fighting against the proposal.