UNM law professor talks about Supreme Court’s decision on abortion

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Joshua Kastenberg, UNM law professor, said that this recent series of rulings by the Supreme Court are the biggest signs yet that the court has become more conservative.

On Friday, President Joe Biden said he supports an idea to give people more access to medication that induces abortion – that could include by mail. Kastenberg said that drugs that have FDA approval are under federal control, but there would still be questions.

He said it depends on exactly how the federal government goes about doing that.

Some have called for the federal government to create new access to abortions on their own property, even in states that have a ban.

“The federal government could federalize an aspect of medicine by setting up an abortion clinic, but that’s a question that – if it ever occurred – would weave its way through the judicial system and I can’t even begin to predict on how they would rule,” Kastenberg said.

Many people are expected to come to New Mexico for abortion services, but some states are trying to make it a crime for their residents to travel out-of-state for abortions.

“We’re going to see states that banned abortion try to restrict even that possibility,” Kastenberg said. “Now they’re going to have a problem doing it, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to try.”

New Mexico lawmakers took out any laws on abortion here in New Mexico – that’s why it is legal now. Some advocates, though, are calling for New Mexico to pass a law that would cement access to abortion in the state.

Kastenberg said that would have two effects – someone trying to prevent someone else from getting an abortion could face a civil lawsuit, and if more states do that, it would make it more difficult for Congress to ban abortion nationwide.

Democratic state lawmakers fielded questions Friday about that very possibility, passing a law to side with Roe v. Wade.

“There needs to be a lot of thought about whether it’s needed and what might be the unintended consequences,” said House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe.

Local advocates against Roe v. Wade said there should be some kind of law. They would like to see limits based on how far along the mother is, and safety regulations.

Right now, New Mexico is one of six states that allows late-term abortions.