I do research and study most political issues, thinking and looking for reasonable conclusions. My stomach gets some problems. Research and logic are secondary.
In 1968 a female relative (Mary) wanted to terminate a pregnancy. She was in college and had no plans to marry her boyfriend. Since abortion was still illegal in New York, she asked if I could help. I saw an elderly woman of 26 years whose pregnancy had been terminated by a well-known doctor who passionately believed that abortion should be legal. She said the process was incredibly simple.
It was very cloak and dagger. Mary had to be standing on a specific street in a New Jersey city, wearing a brown trench coat and holding a Paris Match magazine. A car took them and eventually brought them back.
Unfortunately, an irregularity in Mary’s cervix meant the doctor couldn’t complete the abortion but gave her a drug that she would complete within a few days. Mary was obviously not doing well, but a hospital visit was not possible under the circumstances. This weekend at my girlfriend’s apartment was miserable for everyone. With a less responsible doctor, or without our help, Mary might have died. Many did this from down-street abortions or from trying to use home remedies.
I’ll spare you further details, but since then I’ve been hoping not to see more young women suffer like Mary just to end an unwanted pregnancy. Careless fornication shouldn’t be a capital crime.
Roe v Wade was decided in 1973. Now the current Supreme Court can trample all precedents and legal norms to overturn this decision, not because the Constitution has changed, but because of the judges’ political and / or religious beliefs.
An old New Mexico law made abortion a crime. Surveys show that the majority of US citizens and New Mexicans disagree that all abortion should be illegal, although many believe late pregnancy abortion should be restricted or illegal. I spoke to anti-abortion activists and understood their passion for the subject. But I don’t care that doctors and pregnant women (or girls) are jailed for something that has been legal longer than they have been alive. Nor should anyone have an experience like Mary’s or die trying to do what a doctor can (usually) safely achieve.
If the Supreme Court allows states to ban abortion, then New Mexicans should decide what, if anything, we want to do. People on all sides should be heard, doctors and psychologists should testify, and lawmakers should make the best, most informed decision possible. We should NOT automatically (maybe immediately) revert to a law based on long ago norms. It’s 2021.
I know some Christians are passionate about forbidding anyone from having abortions. (Other Christians believe that women should decide such things with their doctors.) We should all be heard. It’s a difficult subject. People on all sides have strong emotions that support their views.
There are good reasons to repeal New Mexico law. Our constitution advises against laws based on Christian or Islamic or other religious teachings. It recognizes the right of people to pursue happiness and at least a “zone of privacy” in which the government cannot interfere. Fetuses are not recognized as persons.
It is strange that many who strongly oppose choosing a woman on the matter also oppose contraception and are the least willing to spend government funds on poor or troubled children.
Urge lawmakers to let New Mexico women make 21st century decisions.
Peter Goodman, a Las Cruces resident, writes, takes pictures, and occasionally practices as a lawyer. His blog at http://soledadcanyon.blogspot.com/ has more information on this column.
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