ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — It’s been nearly two weeks since Texas’ controversial abortion bill went into effect. Clinics across New Mexico say they’re already seeing a slight uptick in people coming from Texas to receive health care services.
Texas’ six-week abortion ban went into effect at the start of September and quickly sparked protests by people calling the law unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Chelsea Youmans with the anti-abortion group “Human Coalition Action” says, “the law is a peaceful constitutional law that involves civil lawsuit.”
She adds, “They found a way to enforce the laws if the government officials refuse to, it can be done in the hands of private citizens.”
The controversial law states anybody helping a woman get an abortion in Texas past that six-week time frame could be sued. But the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ chief experience officer says she believes clinics in New Mexico are not liable. They are already seeing a slight increase in the number of patients coming from Texas.
Adrienne Mansanares shares, “So in this case, it’s the location of the patient being in Texas. So, I don’t have any concerns or fears or any reason to believe that anyone in New Mexico for example, if the patient’s here in New Mexico, would have any issues whatsoever.”
She says in the last two weeks, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains – covering Colorado, southern Nevada, and New Mexico – has had more than 30 patients from Texas per week scheduling abortion care.
That number was between five and 15 visits per week before the ban. She says New Mexico clinics are prepared and have not been overwhelmed by the influx. “From a healthcare perspective at Planned Parenthood, what we’ve been doing is instituting more telemedicine, so that we can open up space in our health centers. Especially if folks are traveling from Texas,” says Mansanares.
In August of last year, Albuquerque clinics saw clients from Texas. There are at least 10 appointments set for September so far.
Joan Lamunyon Sanford is the Director at NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. She explains, “We are starting to see more people coming to us for support. For help getting a place to stay while they’re here, getting rides to and from their appointment, helping with meal support while they’re here.”
In past years, about two dozen states have introduced similar measures but only Texas’ version has been enacted. On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it’s suing the state of Texas over the new state law arguing that it was enacted “in open defiance of the constitution.”
(Information from KRQE.com)