New Mexico

Both sides strategize on anti-abortion ordinance

Oct. 25 (Reuters) – The Clovis City Commission will soon vote on whether to pass an ordinance drawing a line between the city and state over abortion rights: The ordinance seeks to ban abortion clinics in Clovis.

Clovis resident Laura Wight leads a social media group of people who believe healthcare decisions should be made between the patient and doctor.

The group Eastern New Mexico Rising, she said, is a nonpartisan progressive group, an apolitical group “focused on social justice issues.”

The group opposes the proposed regulation, which is scheduled to be presented to Clovis city commissioners on Nov. 3.

Pastor Ryan Denton, who leads the churches in Clovis and Lubbock, is one of the local people who pushed the adoption of the anti-abortion clinic ordinance.

“We’re trying to push that into communities in eastern New Mexico,” Denton said. “We saw Hobbs bring the ordinance forward for a vote Thursday, I believe November 7.”

Eastern New Mexico Rising had a Zoom meeting on Oct. 18 with about 35 members involved with three individuals from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Albuquerque and Las Cruces regarding the Clovis anti-abortion ordinance.

“Essentially, they have reassured us that the issue is very much on their radar,” Wight said.

She said the ACLU is working on a strategy behind the scenes and has sent letters to the mayor and city commissioners regarding the matter.

“The ACLU provided us with helpful training information,” Wight said. “Like how to work with local governments, talk about reproductive health care and civil liberties, like how to B. Sunshine Laws on Access to Public Information. What are our rights and how to exercise them.”

What will Eastern New Mexico Rising’s strategy be if the ordinance is passed?

“We’re going to regroup a bit,” Wight said. “We’re going to take a closer look at what legal options exist to overturn the ordinance and allow Clovis citizens to access the healthcare they need.”

She said the group will also work on matters so that “physicians, any healthcare company can operate in the city of Clovis.”

Wight said the mayor and commission have recognized that the ordinance violates New Mexico law, so they expect legal action.

“This is a reckless disregard for Clovis taxpayers,” Wight said.

She said the group isn’t just focused on reproductive health. The group also focuses on LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, economic justice and anything that falls under social justice.

Wight finds it interesting that the majority of people who join Eastern New Mexico Rising say, “I’m so glad I found you, I thought I was alone.”

“It shows me that there are a lot of people at Clovis who care about these issues,” Wight said.

Pastor Denton said Lovington voted Monday night to move forward with an anti-abortion regulation. He said officials in Grady, Texico and Portales are interested in passing a similar ordinance as well.

“This is just a start,” Denton said. “Really, we see it as a matter of life and death.”

What are the plans if the ordinance is not passed in Clovis?

“If they vote against this ordinance, we need to see changes in the leadership of Clovis,” Denton said.

“However, we hope that the Commission will remain strong and that the people will be represented.”

Denton said the work he and others are doing is part of “doing whatever we can to defend the lives of women and children in our city, whether this passes or not.”

“We believe the regulation is the best way to protect women and children,” Denton said.


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