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October 15, 2018 / Press Releases

NARAL Calls On New Mexico Governor Debate Moderators to #AskAboutAbortion


Despite Being a Key Issue for Voters, Reproductive Freedom Has Been Missing From the Conversation

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2018
Contact: media@prochoiceamerica.org

 

With threats to Roe v. Wade and in the lead up to the New Mexico governor’s debate this Tuesday, NARAL Pro-Choice America is calling on the moderators to ask the candidates about their views on reproductive healthcare and abortion. NARAL sent a letter to the two moderators defining the stark contrast in the race between Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pearce when it comes to their views on a woman’s right to choose.

“Abortion is not a “niche” issue. Asking about abortion means demanding that the candidates tell us what they think about gender equality and a woman’s right to determine what happens to her own body, allowing voters to compare the two agendas of the gubernatorial candidates. It means moving a complex discussion past the simple “pro-choice” and “pro-life” labels so they can talk about their ideas for supporting women and families. It means determining whether a candidate thinks a woman deserves full access to the values of freedom, equality, and opportunity that New Mexicans believe in, or if she should be punished for ideological reasons.

– Nicole Brener-Schmitz in her letter to the moderators of Tuesday’s debate

 

See the full letter below:

 

October 15, 2018

 

Tessa Mentus

KOB Broadcasting

4 Broadcast Plaza SW

Albuquerque, NM 87104

 

Steve Soliz

KOB Broadcasting

4 Broadcast Plaza SW

Albuquerque, NM 87104

 

Dear Tessa and Steve –

Debates are a critical opportunity to hold candidates accountable on issues that directly impact the lives of all New Mexicans. Few things are as important to the wellbeing of citizens across New Mexico than the ability to decide if, when, and how to raise their family. Access to basic reproductive healthcare, including birth control and abortion care, has become one of the most salient points of contrast between candidates running up and down the ballot in New Mexico. We write you today to bring this important conversation into the public sphere.

For that reason, we request that you ask the candidates about how they plan to address the crisis of abortion access in New Mexico. This crisis leaves women without full control over their own bodies and their own lives. It threatens our health and our economic security.

Additionally, New Mexico has a not repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban, which is unconstitutional and unenforceable. The ban provides that a woman may not obtain an abortion unless a special hospital board certifies in writing that:  (1) continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the woman’s death or “grave impairment” of her physical or mental health; (2) if the woman gives birth, the child probably will have a grave physical or mental defect; (3) the pregnancy resulted from rape, which has been or will be reported to an appropriate law-enforcement official; or (4) the pregnancy resulted from incest.  Any provider who administers a substance or uses any other means to cause an uncertified abortion is guilty of a felony.

Abortion is not a “niche” issue. Asking about abortion means demanding that the candidates tell us what they think about gender equality and a woman’s right to determine what happens to her own body, allowing voters to compare the two agendas of the gubernatorial candidates. It means moving a complex discussion past the simple “pro-choice” and “pro-life” labels so they can talk about their ideas for supporting women and families. It means determining whether a candidate thinks a woman deserves full access to the values of freedom, equality, and opportunity that New Mexicans believe in, or if she should be punished for ideological reasons.

In past debates, moderators have typically posed questions on abortion that skirt the lived reality of countless women and instead focus on outlier cases that border on the entirely theoretical. We hope that your questions capture the true needs of women.

Below are questions we propose you ask:

  1. In the face of threats to Roe v. Wade at the federal level, some states have passed proactive legislation to decriminalize abortion and protect access to reproductive health care. If elected, would you work to advance such legislation and sign it into law?
  2. Steve Pearce has argued for a ban of abortion, while Michelle Lujan Grisham has argued for expanding access to basic reproductive healthcare. Given that 7 in 10 voters support keeping abortion both legal and accessible, which candidate believes they best represent the will of New Mexico voters?
  3. Among all of the barriers to accessing abortion care for American women, financial burdens rank highest. Many policies prevent low-income women from using public health insurance to access this medical service, and clinic closure laws have been so detrimental that it now requires considerable financial means to take time off work, find childcare and travel long distances to access abortion care. As governor, how would you ensure that the constitutional right to abortion is guaranteed to all families in New Mexico, regardless of their financial situation?

Few issues are more personal and consequential than the issue of being able to choose whether, when, and with whom to start or grow a family. This issue is too important to leave unaddressed on Tuesday. We hope you’ll allow the candidates to talk about their differing plans to defend and expand our constitutionally protected right to access abortion.

Sincerely,

Nicole Brener-Schmitz

NARAL Pro-Choice America Political Director

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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