Advocates collect signatures to overturn new abortion pill ordinance in Edgewood
EDGEWOOD, N.M. – Residents of Edgewood and others gathered Saturday morning to collect signatures for a petition on a heated topic across the nation.
“We are trying to get a petition to recall the abortion pill ban ordinance that was passed a few weeks ago,” said Elaine Harrington, a pro-choice advocate.
In an hours-long Edgewood town commission meeting in April, town commissioners voted 4–1 in favor of an ordinance to block local providers from sending and receiving abortion pills through the mail.
Lawmakers in Edgewood are justifying this ordinance based on the Comstock Act from 1873 – the unenforced law that prohibits the mailing of substances or drugs that produce abortions.
This ordinance comes after new statewide abortion protections were approved by state lawmakers and the governor.
“We have passed in this last 60 days session, a statute that expressly prohibits local communities from interfering with a woman’s right to access reproductive health care,” said New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez.
On Saturday morning, pro-choice advocates took a public stand in Edgewood, trying to reach enough signatures to overturn the ordinance.
“242 is what it requires,” said Marcia Smith, a pro-choice advocate.
“It really should be put to the people for the vote,” said Elaine Harrington, a pro-choice advocate.
They need 242 signatures from Edgewood residents by May 26, and if they get enough people to sign:
“It will remove the ordinance and force an election. Within 90 days, the town of Edgewood will have to have an election on this ordinance which is really appropriate since it’s such a divisive issue,” said Harrington.
During the debate in April, the commission agreed to accept free legal representation from Texas-based attorney Jonathan Mitchell – known for crafting Texas anti-abortion laws.