HB 7 is now in effect: Here’s what you should know

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — House Bill 7, otherwise known as the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Freedom Act, protects access to abortion and transgender hormone treatments by preventing local governments from getting in the way.


The legislation specifically restricts what “public bodies” can do. That includes city councils, county commissions, advisory boards, school districts, public universities and really, any group receiving public funding. That also includes people who work on behalf of public bodies, like teachers and police officers. The bill does not restrict parents.

As for the restrictions, public bodies can not discriminate against people who use or refuse the services.

They can’t interfere, limit or restrict access to the services – and that includes through ordinances or policies. They also can’t block someone’s ability to receive reproductive care, through prosecution or punishment.

“So it doesn’t mean that they have a duty to go take them anywhere,” said Hailey Zock, staff attorney with the Southwest Women’s Law Center. “It just means that when the situation presents itself, they cannot discriminate. And they cannot prohibit people from seeking or refusing reproductive health care or gender-affirming care.”

Doctors who don’t already perform these services – such as an eye doctor – are not required to do so.

The doctors who do are allowed to use their medical judgment to say no, as long as that’s based on medical care standards.


So when it comes to gender-affirming surgeries and so-called “puberty blockers,” what is the standard care for young patients? Well, both of those are reserved for teenagers.

The World Professional Association of Transgender Health, which maintains those standards of care, says hormone treatments can start at 14 years old, with parental consent. Surgeries can happen as early as 15, with parental consent.

The executive director of Equality New Mexico told KOB 4 that doctors in the state are usually much more conservative and wait until a patient is 18.


There have been claims that this legislation removes parental consent for abortion and gender-affirming treatments. However, HB 7 does not say the word “parent” even once.

There is currently no state law requiring parental consent for abortions, even for teens under 18. HB 7 does not change that.

As for gender-affirming treatments, the current standard of care says young patients with unsupportive parents who undergo those treatments are usually worse off than patients who don’t undergo any treatment.

So, unless the parents are on board, it’s unlikely a doctor will go through with the treatment. The law intends to leave the decision up to doctors and patients to make those health care decisions together.

“This is just the ability to do something, that you have that protection, and that nobody’s forced to use these services or, you know, seek out reproductive health care,” Zock said. “We’re just saying that this is protected now in our state.”

She admitted it’s hard to say what is and isn’t discrimination in these cases, though. That’s up for the courts to decide.