ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, the ACLU of New Mexico sent letters to Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Mayors Tim Keller, Alan Webber, and Ken Miyagishima, and New Mexico's congressional delegation, urging them to ensure people in New Mexico will be able to access reproductive healthcare as the COVID-19 public health crisis continues to unfold and as elected officials continue to enact emergency powers restricting individual movement and business operations. In the letter, the ACLU of New Mexico advises elected officials to consider abortion care; all forms of birth control; STI screening, testing, and treatment; vaginal health and treatment; prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care as essential reproductive services that must remain accessible at all times.
“We need a response plan to the COVID-19 public health emergency that protects the health, safety, and civil liberties of everyone in our community,” said ACLU of New Mexico Reproductive Rights Attorney Ellie Rushforth. “Even in times of crisis, it is critical that New Mexicans continue to be able to make their own reproductive health decisions and access the care they need without interruption.”
The letters outline immediate steps elected officials should take to ensure uninterrupted access to reproductive care including: treating reproductive health care clinics and outpatient abortion providers as essential businesses; suspending limits on or increasing refills for prescription medications such as birth control; working with the medical community to prevent dangerous disruptions in pregnancy and postpartum care; and ensuring that healthcare facilities are immigration enforcement-free zones so that immigration status does not prevent a person from seeking medical care.
“Too many people — especially women of color, immigrants, young people, incarcerated people, LGBTQ+ folks, people with limited income, and rural New Mexicans — already face extreme barriers to reproductive healthcare,” said Rushforth. “We’re concerned that these barriers could intensify during the public health emergency unless elected officials take immediate measures to ensure all forms of reproductive healthcare are declared essential. We’ll be monitoring the government’s response closely to make sure it is scientifically justified and no more intrusive on civil liberties than absolutely necessary.”
Copies of letters are available below.