New Mexico Supreme Court to hear oral arguments over abortion lawsuit
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Abortion in New Mexico is legal, but that hasn’t stopped local governments across the state from passing ordinances aimed at restricting access to abortion.
Hobbs, Clovis, and Edgewood passed them, along with Lea and Roosevelt counties.
New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez filed a suit in response in January.
“This ladies and gentlemen is not Texas. In this state, a woman’s right to choose is guaranteed by the New Mexico Constitution,” said Torrez back in January.
Nearly a year later, we’ll see it play out in the state Supreme Court Wednesday.
“I have a separate legal obligation to make an argument before the New Mexico Supreme Court that provides for an independent avenue for guaranteeing these rights,” said Torrez.
KOB legal expert Joshua Kastenberg says the arguments will not be centered around whether abortion should be allowed or not, but more on how much authority we give to our city and county governments.
Especially considering abortion is protected under the state Constitution, making it a right for every New Mexican.
“The New Mexico Constitution, just like about every state Constitution for those that study them, give the counties and municipalities certain legislative authority as long as they don’t encroach, or try to supersede the legislative authority of the elected state Legislature,” said Kastenberg.
Kastenberg says if the court sides with the counties, it could set a precedent for other states having the same debates, and could impact other issues too.
“I could see counties trying to interpret the Second Amendment in a manner different from the state Legislature across the country, I could certainly see that,” Kastenburg said.
He says since the Legislature already acted to protect abortion, it’s going to take a lot for the local municipalities to see a decision in their favor.
“I think the counties have an uphill battle on this one, a really uphill battle,” said Kastenburg.
Kastenberg says he doesn’t expect a ruling Wednesday, but it’s not impossible.
The oral arguments are set to begin at 9:30 a.m.