- Associated Press - Sunday, March 20, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Though abortions among residents are down the number of out-of-state women traveling to New Mexico for abortions has grown significantly over the past three years.

According to state Department of Health data, about 20 percent of the roughly 4,500 abortions performed in New Mexico in 2014 involved women from out of state, The Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1Ra1bas). Reports suggest that number can be attributed to New Mexico’s few restrictions on abortion.

Abortions in New Mexico peaked in the last decade at 6,386 before decreasing to 4,503 in 2014, the most re4cent for which state data are available. Abortions in women under the age of 19 have declined by 66 percent since 2000, from 1,269 to 435 in 2014.

New Mexico hasn’t passed an abortion law in 16 years and is one of seven states that permits abortions at any stage in a pregnancy. Comparatively, neighboring Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma each adopted 10 or more abortion restrictions from 2011 to 2015.

A Texas-based abortion clinic opened in Las Cruces in 2014 after Texas lawmakers enacted a law that has resulted in the closure of at least half of the state’s 41 abortion clinics.



New Mexico is one of only a handful of states that allows so-called “late-term” abortions, though data suggests they aren’t common. According to the Department of health, state residents had only four abortions at 28 weeks or later in 2014. That number dropped to two last year, according to the latest data.

The department doesn’t track the number of late-term abortions performed on out-of-state residents in New Mexico.

Elisa Martinez, executive director of the New Mexico Alliance for Life, said New Mexico’s failure to pass a law like the one being challenged in Texas “leaves women vulnerable to the lack of safety and regulation of these clinics.”

On the other side of the issue, abortion advocate Pamelya Herndon, executive director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center in Albuquerque, said restrictions are not about health and instead limit a woman’s ability to access abortions.

“That’s the new terminology that some states are picking up and some legislators I think in our state are trying to pick up to make it appear that there is some great concern (about women who have abortions),” Herndon said. “It’s just another way to prevent the reproductive health care of women.”

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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