Governor asks Biden for federal aid to protect reproductive rights

President Joe Biden is greeted by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and other New Mexico officials after landing in Albuquerque on June 11 to talk about wildfires burning in the state. Lujan Grisham was one of several Democratic governors who spoke with the president on Friday about steps taken at the state level in response to a US Supreme Court decision on state laws to restrict abortion services. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday urged President Joe Biden to take federal action to protect women in states that have banned abortion in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned nearly 50 years of legal precedent.

At a remote summit hosted by the White House, Lujan Grisham said New Mexico would be a “brick wall” against attempts to restrict access to abortion in other states.

But with New Mexico already experiencing an influx of patients from Texas and other states seeking abortion services, she said the federal government should step up its efforts to help in a state with limited health care facilities and a chronic nursing shortage.

“There are a number of things we could use your help and leadership on,” Lujan Grisham said Friday.

In particular, the governor said federal Indian health service clinics could play a role in providing reproductive health care, a suggestion Biden said he would consider.

Lujan Grisham was one of several Democratic governors — others included North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and New York Government Kathy Hochul — who were invited to talk to Biden about the steps they took after the U.S. Supreme Court last week knocked down the 1973 landmark. v. Wade statement.

Earlier this week, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order that aims to protect abortion providers and patients by, among other things, claiming that the state will not comply with abortion-related arrest warrants and extradition requests from other states.

She and Democratic legislative leaders in New Mexico have also said other steps could be taken, including enshrining abortion rights in state law or perhaps the state constitution, although that would require voter approval statewide.

However, New Mexico’s Republicans accused the governor of “political theater” in signing the executive order, saying they should have called a special legislative session to make new laws instead.

“Lujan Grisham is just beating the drum again in a rallying cry,” GOP 1st Congressional District Vice President Leticia Munoz said in a statement. “The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling has no impact on New Mexico, and our state remains the nation’s capital for late-term abortion — up to and including the day of birth.”

Meanwhile, Lujan Grisham, who is seeking re-election this year to a second term, also warned Friday that other legal precedents — including same-sex marriage — could be overturned by the Supreme Court.

“What we are doing today in the area of ​​reproductive rights protection should absolutely move toward protecting everyone’s additional privacy rights, including making sure we don’t roll back on same-sex marriage and other related issues,” said Lujan Grisham. †

The New Mexico Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, saying the right is protected by the state constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court then followed suit by legalizing same-sex marriage nationally in 2015.

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