SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court blocked local anti-abortion ordinances Friday pending the outcome of a case centered on constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.
The ruling granted a request by Democratic state Attorney General Raúl Torrez and follows the state’s recent adoption of a new abortion rights bill signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham just weeks ago that overrides any local ordinances aimed at limiting access to abortion procedures and medications.
The state already had one of the country’s most liberal abortion access laws, but two counties and three cities in eastern New Mexico recently adopted restrictions that reflect deep-seated opposition to offering the procedure. Torrez’s petition and the legislation that was passed during the recent 60-day aim to override those ordinances and prevent other counties from adopting abortion restrictions.
Democratic governors in 20 states this year launched a network intended to strengthen abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision nixing a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy. The decision shifted regulatory powers over the procedure to state governments.
In its order, the New Mexico Supreme Court outlined a schedule for the ongoing case over the ordinances in the cities of Hobbs, Clovis and Eunice and in Lea and Roosevelt counties. It said briefs due in April should address what, if any, effect the new abortion rights law will have on the case.