January 23, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Santa Fe, NM – Today, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez filed an extraordinary writ in the New Mexico Supreme Court against Roosevelt County, Lea County, and the Cities of Hobbs and Clovis for unlawfully passing ordinances that restrict access to reproductive healthcare in their communities. The Attorney General’s request to halt the infringement on women’s rights comes one day after what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
In the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, several cities and counties in southeastern New Mexico passed ordinances that sought to restrict abortion access. Relying on a flawed interpretation of a 19th century federal statute regulating the interstate shipment of abortion medication, these communities sought to impose a new regulatory scheme that would have effectively prohibited abortion access for women and, in one instance, created a private right of action that would allow private citizens to file lawsuits to enforce the ordinances.
Today Attorney General Torrez took formal action to nullify those ordinances as exceeding the lawful authority of local governments to regulate healthcare access and as a violation of the New Mexico Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of a woman’s inalienable right to bodily autonomy.
“This is not Texas. Our State Constitution does not allow cities, counties or private citizens to restrict women’s reproductive rights,” said Attorney General Raúl Torrez. “Today’s action should send a strong message that my Office will use every available tool to swiftly and decisively uphold individual liberties against unconstitutional overreach.”
“Women in every corner of New Mexico should rest assured that we will push back against any attempt to infringe on their inalienable right to make the most personal decision about their lives, their health and their families,” Torrez said.
The petition for writ is attached.
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