Bill to protect reproductive health care providers from non-heads of state in Guv office

On the last full day of the 2023 legislative session, the second major reproductive rights and gender-affirming bill passed the House by a vote of 38 to 30.

SB 13, sponsored by State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, is now heading to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office.

Reproductive Health and Gender-Affirmation Care Protection Act protects providers and patients from other states’ efforts to obtain information about providers or patients as part of a health care investigation reproduction or gender affirmation when this activity is not protected. The bill seeks to protect patients and providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care from civil or criminal liability and to protect reproductive health care providers from discrimination by professional licensing boards.

SB 13 is one of two reproductive rights and gender-affirming bills introduced this legislative session. The other bill, the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act, prohibits public bodies from passing ordinances that would prohibit or put roadblocks to reproductive and gender-affirming health care. . Lujan Grisham signed it into law on Thursday. She is also expected to sign SB 13.

The bill codifies Lujan Grisham’s executive order that she issued last summer days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. If she signs SB 13 into law, it would ensure those protections will continue, regardless of the governor.

The three-hour debate on the floor of the House focused on the rights of other states as well as issues of free speech and the right of religious organizations to protest or send electronic information about their disapproval of reproductive or gender-affirming care. Republican State Rep. Stefani Lord of Sandia Park asked if SB 13 was intended to be “an abortion shield law?”

State Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, who introduced the bill to the House, said, “No matter what you call it, yes, we affirmatively protect what’s legal here and will continue to do so.” ‘be here.”

“We are a sovereign state; we make our own laws. We’re talking about overjurisdiction in uncharted territory,” Romero said of other states trying to criminalize or penalize abortion or gender-affirming care in other states.

State Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, asked if New Mexico would cooperate with a subpoena issued by another state regarding a licensed reproductive or gender-affirming provider.

Romero said New Mexico “would not submit private information about this practice to any other state for research.”

State Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, called the legislation “a departure from our general notions of full faith and credit” to respond to the legal orders of other states.

Romero said reproductive and gender-affirming care is “under attack in other states.”

State Rep. John Block, R-Alamogordo, asked what are the “specific attacks on New Mexico that made this a priority?”

Romero said other states, primarily Texas, are passing legislation that criminalizes and allows civil penalties for reproductive and gender-affirming care providers and those seeking care, as well as those assisting people seeking care. Romero said more than 400 anti-LGBTQ laws have been introduced this year, so far, and 15 states are restricting or considering restricting access to gender-affirming care.

“That’s precisely why we need this law,” Romero said.

State Representative Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, tried to argue that the legislation infringes on the right to free speech. Romero disagreed.

“This is private health information. It is written narrowly in this law. We don’t touch free speech, we protect health care information,” Romero said.

Montoya introduced two amendments to the bill. The former would have removed a section that it says would prevent individuals or entities from legally protesting or sharing negative electronic information about a reproductive or gender affirmation provider or clinic.

This amendment never received a vote. House Speaker Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque, ruled Montoya out of order and referred it to House rules, but did not elaborate.

The House debated Montoya’s amendment for several minutes before he withdrew it and made a second attempt to amend the bill by deleting the word “entity” because he said the right of religious organizations or individuals “to say unflattering things about proceedings that they find morally wrong” was impacted.

Romero called the amendment “very hostile” and said this amendment “would allow for harassment”.

Debate on the amendment exceeded the three-hour limit for debate in the House, leading to a disagreement between Montoya and Martinez over Montoya’s ability to make closing remarks. Martinez said the House had closed debate, exceeded the three-hour debate limit, and his time was up.

The House tabled the amendment by 43 votes to 24.


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