This content is intended to serve as general information; it is not legal advice nor intended as legal advice.
New Mexico law provides protection for pregnant and parenting people - including protections against gender, sex, and pregnancy discrimination; the right to breastfeed and lactate in public and at work; the right to have reasonable pregnancy-related accommodations in the workplace; rights if you are a pregnant or parenting student; and rights to access medical care without interference. It's important to keep in mind that depending on where you work, you might have different rights and protections based on the size of your employer.
So what do these rights look like specifically?
- You cannot be fired, forced to take paid or unpaid leave, or otherwise discriminated against just because you’re pregnant, have recently given birth, or have related medical conditions.
- Employers with four or more employees are also required to grant reasonable accommodation for an employee with a need arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or another related condition as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship for the employer.
- Some examples of reasonable accommodation for pregnant people include: allowing an employee to keep food and water at their workstation, extra bathroom breaks, a reprieve from heavy lifting, or time off to attend prenatal appointments.
- And depending on where you work, you might be entitled to family and medical leave.
- New Mexico school districts are required to give students ten days of excused absences after the birth of their child and these are not related to medical necessity. Both parents of the child are entitled to the excused absences.
- School districts in New Mexico are also required to grant pregnant and parenting students four additional excused absences per semester.
- Schools are generally required to allow you to express milk for your baby.
- The bottom line is that pregnant people have the same health care rights as anyone else: the right to decide who touches them and how and the right to make all decisions in their health care. And you deserve respectful pregnancy care.
- You have the right to decide who is involved with your care, stay with your newborn, have a support partner with you, to breastfeed, and most importantly, you have the right to get information to make your decisions without coercion.
- If you are struggling with substance use and if you are pregnant, that substance use does not, by itself, constitute child abuse. And you have the right to get compassionate care from a trusted health care provider to let you know what your options are to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Asserting your rights can be challenging and overwhelming, so always do what feels comfortable to you. If you think your rights have been violated because of your pregnancy, document everything you can about the incident. You can contact the ACLU using the legal complaint form on our website.