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Gov., AG sued over abortion ordinances

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Blake Ovard/News-Sun

N.M. State Sen. David Gallagos, R-Eunice, Eunice Mayor Billy Hobbs, Eunice Council Member Erica Jones, Hobbs resident and Lea County Right to Life member Lori Bova joined Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Founder and Right To Life of East Texas Director Mark Lee Dickson on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday afternoon to announce a lawsuit had been filed against N.M. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Raul Torrez — and it was done in the name of saving the unborn.

The lawsuit centers around House Bill 7, which was passed by by the Legislature during this year’s session and was recently signed by Lujan Grisham. HB 7 prohibits cities and counties from passing ordinances restricting abortion in their jurisdictions, such as those passed in Hobbs, Eunice and Lea County. The lawsuit filed in the Fifth Judicial District Court Monday contends the New Mexico law goes directly against federal law, namely 18 U.S.C. 1461-1462, also known as the Comstock Act.

While Dickson was the first to address the microphone, it was Eunice Mayor Hobbs who first mentioned the lawsuit.

“Just this morning, in the Fifth Judicial District Court in Lea County, N.M., a formal lawsuit against the governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and the attorney general, Raul Torrez, was filed by our team of attorneys,” Hobbs said. “With that being said, it gives me great honor to say here, in our nations capital, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Raul Torrez, we will see you in court.”

And another member of the delegation from Eunice, Jones told those in attendance she not only represents the city in this lawsuit, but also women and mothers.

“I stand before you in my capacity as a city councilwoman, educator, a counselor, a leader and a woman. And although I wear many hats within my community, I am most proud of my role as a mother,” she said. “My role as a mother —why bring that up? A mother is a baby’s protector, a mother is a baby’s provider. A mother thinks she loves her child more than the world, but when a child is born, a mother feels how this child becomes her world. Let’s not advocate for taking this feeling away from mothers.”

She said she and Lujan Grisham do see eye to eye on one thing — leaving New Mexico is often needed to receive medical care. But that doesn’t mean abortion clinics are what is needed most in the state.

“Gov. (Lujan) Grisham and I would concur that most of the time in the state of New Mexico we have to travel out of state to receive medical services,” she said. “Today, Gov. (Lujan) Grisham does not have the microphone. Today, I have the microphone.

“Let’s focus on rural New Mexico’s Healthcare system. Currently, New Mexicans in Southeast N.M. have limited healthcare access, and oftentimes have to travel out of state to receive medical services. This is a serious problem in our state.

“Right now we are losing hospitals and medical professionals and getting abortion facilities. These facilities are relocating here to our state from all over America and opening in cities like Albuquerque and Las Cruces.

“One abortion facility was looking at our area, but due to cities standing up and saying, ‘Not in our city,’ that abortion facility heard one of our sister city’s voice — loud and clear — and decided to set up shop in a city five hours away.”

Bova also hit on the success of communities in Southeast N.M. to keep abortion clinics out of the area by requiring them to adhere to federal law.

“Recently, when our community was targeted by the abortion industry, municipalities and counties decide to take the life issue up at the local level — and I will say with great success, simply by requiring abortion providers follow federal statute,” she said. “This action inspired grassroots efforts in our city, and caused Whole Women’s Health to tuck tail and run to Albuquerque — where they were sadly welcomed with open arms.”

Jones mentioned the recent case of Hobbs teen Alexis Avila, who was convicted of attempted murder and abuse of a child after giving birth to a baby boy and throwing the child in a dumpster.

“When a baby was left in a dumpster in our county, that baby had to be airlifted to a neonatal hospital in Lubbock, Texas — two hours away from our city,” Jones said. “The baby’s kidneys and liver were failing, the only option we had for that baby was to fly him to the nearest neonatal doctor, in a different state.

“And while I thank God for the City of Lubbock — which is also a city which has passed an ordinance valuing life — I question why we weren’t able to provide the same level of care to a newborn baby whose life depended on us.

“I took an oath to make decisions based on the health and welfare of my community and I find it extremely appalling that our State leadership wants to try to prevent us from making decisions to protect the men and women and boys and girls of our communities.”

Gallegos, who fought to bring baby surrender boxes to New Mexico, and also helped orchestrate the crafting of ordinances in municipalities in New Mexico, said progressive, left-wing Democrats don’t understand those who want to protect the lives of unborn children.

“When debating HB7 on the (N.M.) Senate floor, I asked the bill sponsor, Sen. Linda Lopez, if she understood these federal abortion statutes found in the Comstock Act,” Gallegos said. “I asked her if she understood the fact that federal law trumps state laws and state constitutions?

“Knowing there would likely be a lawsuit, our legislative body willfully and defiantly disregarded and subverted these federal statutes. We had bipartisan opposition to this bill in both the House and the Senate and the fact that this bill even passed shows we have much work to do in our state.”

Dickson also said once the ordinances started happening, the progressive left in the Legislature moved to silence the more conservative voices in the state — mostly in southeastern N.M. where about 40 percent of the states income is derived from.

“New Mexico Legislature decided to pass a bill called House Bill 7, prohibiting cities from passing ordinances restricting abortion,” Dickson said. “The attorney general of New Mexico sued several of these cities, Clovis and Hobbs, and also Lea County and Roosevelt County. But on the day that happened, the city of Eunice stood up and passed their ordinance.”

Mayor Hobbs agreed councilors in Eunice knew what they were facing when they passed the ordinance.

“The vote was unanimous and was made knowing that morning the New Mexico Attorney General sued two cities and two counties in our state for passing similar ordinances,” Hobbs said. “To this date the City of Eunice has not been served with a lawsuit for our ordinance.”
And, Dickson said the decision to hold the press conference on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court is symbolic.

“The reason we are here is we all know where this is going,” Dickson said. “We do see federal judges taking the position these statutes are clear. 18 U.S.C. 1461 and 1462 clearly prohibits the mailing and receiving of abortion inducing drugs and abortion paraphernalia … the question is, (is) the United State Supreme Court going to take that same reading?”
Gallegos said the fight is just getting started, but the sides are more clear than ever — those wanting to protect life, and those who want a “death culture.”

“The fight for New Mexico is not going to be won overnight, but we will win this fight for the heart and soul of our state. The State of New Mexico is predominantly Hispanic and Catholic and the majority of our citizens have a deep respect for human life,” Gallegos said. “Now that the governor has forced our state to be the abortion capital of the world, New Mexico’s values will become apparent. Our message today to our governor is clear — madame Governor, Eunice and New Mexico have had enough of this death culture.”

“These federal statutes trump all state laws and state constitutions … and it’s time every state in the land follow that law,” Dickson said.

“Governor, I think we all know what you are truly afraid of. You are afraid of these federal laws which are already on our books,” Gallegos said. “Madame governor, consider yourself Comstocked.”

 

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