A southern New Mexico Democratic lawmaker from Silver City was met with applause and jeers after blaming women seeking an abortion for getting pregnant in the first place.
The controversial remark was made at a public forum held Thursday at Western New Mexico University in Silver City.
It was a confusing sight to some: two Democrats blatantly disagreeing about abortion. Sen. Gabriel Ramos, D-Silver City, and Rep. Rudy Martinez, D-Bayard, hold opposite views on the matter.
The two were panelists at the forum were discussing what happened during the 60-day legislative session. Toward the end of the nearly 90-minute forum, a woman brought up House Bill 51.
“I’m so glad that ‘House Bill 51’ did not pass,“ she said, to which the lawmakers started talking about the bill and where they stand on it.
HB51 would have repealed an old New Mexico law making abortion a crime, putting the state in line with the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling.
It was a proposal Rep. Martinez supported, but Sen. Ramos did not.
“I voted against this bill,“ Sen. Ramos said.
He went on to say that the idea of being ‘pro-choice’ is about the woman choosing to become pregnant.
“I think the choice is made by the woman. If they want to go ahead and not become pregnant…let’s take care of the problem before it happens,“ he said.
Ramos simultaneously excited and angered the room, with both sides chiming in. One man yelled out, “You’re a man! You can say that!“ clearly upset at the senator’s words while others applauded.
“I truly believe that government should not be involved in telling what a woman has to do or not to do,“ Rep. Martinez said.
“Abortion issues are federal issues. We as state legislators cannot change federal laws, so again that’s another bill that has been misconstrued and put out that it’s abortion,“ Rep. Martinez went on to say.
Planned Parenthood and Strong Families New Mexico stand with Rep. Martinez and say they’re disgusted by Ramos placing blame solely on a woman.
“Senator Ramos’ views on this are as archaic as the law he’s responding to,“ Adriann Barboa with Strong Families NM said. “We do not want to go back to place where doctors and women are criminalized for seeking the care they need.“
In all, eight Senate Democrats, including Sen. Ramos, voted against the bill causing its failure. Prior to that in the House, six Democrats voted against it but it still passed.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was disappointed HB51 did not pass the Senate, calling it inexplicable that there was even debate about removing the old law.