LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico lawmaker says he has been denied communion because he voted in favor of an abortion rights bill. Las Cruces State Senator Joseph Cervantes supported the measure during this year’s legislative session. It overturned an abortion ban that was still on the books in the state but has been unenforceable since Roe vs. Wade.

Then last month, U.S. bishops agreed on new guidance allowing priests to deny the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who are pro-abortion rights. Cervantes says the bishop in Las Cruces did just that.

In a statement Monday night, he says his vote was not advocating abortion. Rather, he was voting against an unconstitutional law that would imprison women for seeking an abortion. He also says he prefers to keep his faith private but felt it necessary to address those bringing politics into the Eucharist. KRQE News 13 reached out to the diocese but have not heard back.

Below is the full statement from Cervantes after being denied Holy Communion by the Catholic Bishop in Las Cruces:

“For the last 50 years I have actively participated in my parish church and the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese, including at times as its attorney, and for 20 of those years while also serving in elected political service.

Since voting to eliminate an unconstitutional and never used New Mexico law, which would imprison women for abortion, some new clergy have decided I am unwelcome at their communion.

While I ordinarily prefer to practice my faith privately with my family, I felt it necessary to address those who would politicize, and thereby belittle, the promises of the Eucharist.

In making a public statement I in no way intended to judge or provoke more hate. My vote was not to advocate abortion, but to reject the imprisonment of women as a solution to anything.

I wanted to encourage values based on inclusivity, understanding, forgiveness and compassion, which are the core of Christ’s teachings.

Jesus set the table for our communion, and shared bread and wine with all of his disciples without passing judgment on their fitness. I appreciate those in the clergy of my church who closely follow Christ’s example, and who do not belittle the Eucharist in politics.”

Senator Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces)