Right to refuse is a key issue in abortion debate

Albuquerque Journal

Dan Boyd, Dan McKay

SANTA FE – Discussions about abortion laws in New Mexico have always had moral and religious overtones.

But this year’s debate at the Roundhouse over bills to repeal a long-dormant 1969 state abortion ban has also hinged on a “conscience clause” in the abortion statute that allows health care practitioners to decide not to participate in such procedures.

Critics of the legislation, which passed the Senate last week and could move quickly through the House, say repealing the abortion ban would lead to an exodus of health care workers, especially in rural New Mexico.

But backers claim the argument is a red herring and point to other conscience protections in state and federal law that would remain in place if the abortion law is repealed. . . continue reading

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