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SUN: NM demonstrators seek next steps in fight for abortion rights, O'Keeffe strived to be close to New Mexico landscapes, + More

tiguex park abortion protest
Alice Fordham
Crowds of supporters of abortion rights gathered in Tiguex Park in Albuquerque following the June 24 Supreme Court ruling reversing Roe v Wade

NM demonstrators look for next steps in preserving abortion rights – Shaun Griswold, Source New Mexico

The rains washed over Old Town Albuquerque and brought hundreds of people to Tiguex Park to share anger and grief at federal reproductive rights taken away earlier in the day by a Supreme Court ruling.

For some, the event was place to understand how the court’s ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade ends federal protection on abortion services and triggers bans or severe restrictions in 13 states over the coming weeks. But the ruling does not restrict abortion access in New Mexico.

In fact, people at the event said they want more from legislative leaders in Santa Fe to preserve abortion rights in New Mexico, including protections for patients who travel from areas where abortion is newly illegal or where access is restricted.

As the event was harnessed at times for the 2022 election cycle by New Mexico candidates who support abortion rights, people in the crowd like Adlemmy Molina said they want to make sure politicians keep their promises to make abortion protections stronger.

“I really hope we push for that, we stay like a protective state,” that people know is safe to come for abortion care, she said. “Like, ‘OK, we’re protected. We’re supported. We’re good to go.’ And that’s definitely someone I would vote for. If they’re willing to keep that threshold there.”

Molina made her comments after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke to the crowd at the park promising, “we’re going to do more in the 60-day session. We’re going to continue to expand and protect access.”

New Mexico alternates between a 30-day and 60-day legislative sessions. During the previous 60-day in 2021, Lujan Grisham and a majority Democratic Legislature repealed an outdated 1969 statewide abortion ban that was overruled by federal protections but was still on the books. Advocates for the bill argue removing the state ban made sure abortion care would be legal in N.M., even if the Supreme Court changed the position it had upheld for decades as we saw Friday.

If Lujan Grisham wants to expand abortion access during the 2023 60-day session, she’ll have to win re-election first. On Friday, her Republican opponent Mark Ronchetti announced that if elected governor, he would compromise with state Democrats and propose a ban on abortions after 15-weeks.

It’s still too soon to understand what the Legislature is likely do on this matter. N.M. Sen. Linda Lopez, (D-Albuquerque), who sponsored the repeal in 2021, said she wants to continue having conversations about possible legislation with service providers and other groups working on access issues.

“I think we need to take a step back,” Lopez said, “work with our partners here in the state and do thoughtful legislation, if it’s needed at this point in time. I know that we’re still talking, and I believe that we will do this together.”

For people at Tiguex Park, action is expected of anyone they vote into office, and it’s clear that many ballots will be cast for candidates that seek to protect reproductive rights in New Mexico.

Molina, an Army veteran who recently returned from South Korea, was disturbed the Supreme Court decision created another battle she will have to take on.

“I am embarrassed that I served for the country that’s taking rights away,” Molina said. “And it hit very, very deep to the core. I feel very, for lack of better words, I felt very betrayed. (New Mexico) is a spot where people can flourish and thrive and be healthy. I’m really hoping that we’re going to stand our ground, and we’re going to keep it safe here.”

Rebecca Haskins recently moved to New Mexico from the east coast. She said the state’s reproductive rights were one reason she chose to move here. Not only does she want to see reproductive rights codified into state law, but she said she wants further protections for body autonomy.

“It needs to be amended into state constitutions so it cannot be repealed,” she said. “It’s nobody’s business what adults do with their own bodies. It’s nobody’s business who adults love.”

Marisol Brito and her friend Kelly Ann also said they want to see state lawmakers act on their promises to preserve abortion rights in the state and more support for out-of-state patients.

Brito said she was sad, angry and confused by the Supreme Court ruling but maintains the sense of relief so many at Tiguex Park felt because New Mexico leaders today value access.

“I’m not just voting for the right for abortion or Roe v. Wade,” she said. ”I’m voting for autonomy for my physical being. People cannot tell me what to do with my body. Period. And it’s not just me.”

O'Keeffe strived to be close to New Mexico landscapesBy Kathaleen Roberts, Albuquerque Journal

In 1940s America, for a woman to go camping in the wilderness was virtually unheard of.

Enter Georgia O'Keeffe.

Determined to move as close to the New Mexico landscape as humanly possible, O'Keeffe went camping in Glen Canyon, Plaza Blanca and what she termed The Black Place located 150 miles northwest of her Abiquiú home.

The Georgia O'Keeffe Welcome Center in Abiquiú is hosting its first exhibit, "O'Keeffe in the Landscape," on display through April 2, 2023.

The exhibition showcases Marie Chabot's photographs of the artist mid-camping, her clothing, hiking boots and equipment, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

O'Keeffe had learned to drive in Taos and bought a 1928 Ford Model T so that she could go car camping in remote locations. At the time, she didn't need a driver's license.

"She would set up her tent outside," curator of historic properties Giustina Renzoni said. "She had the passenger's seat removed so she could put a table with all her paints and her brushes. She essentially carried a moving studio."

The artist traveled to evoke the essence of these spectacular views in her work.

Conscious of her safety, O'Keeffe never traveled alone, often taking her friend Maria Chabot, who photographed her on various trips. Chabot had worked for salon maven Mabel Dodge Luhan in Taos. She was the general contractor for O'Keeffe's Abiquiú home. O'Keeffe also camped with such celebrated photographers as Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter and Todd Webb.

"It was a very creative atmosphere," Renzoni said.

The artist learned about these unusual sites by talking to local people. She had learned about Ghost Ranch, where she first bought a house in 1940, from acquaintances when she stayed at Luhan's home.

"She knew she had to see it herself," Renzoni said.

She also hired local guides.

"What she was doing was very unusual at the time, especially for a woman," she added.

By the early 1900s, camping had grown into a leisure activity in a reaction against urbanization, Renzoni said.

O'Keeffe first went camping to Yosemite National Park with Adams in 1938. Telling herself this was a vacation, she took no canvases, paint or brushes. She regretted that decision.

"Of course, as soon as she got there she ended up borrowing supplies from people and using the charcoal from the fire," Renzoni said.

In New Mexico, she collected rocks and bones as she moved through the ragged country.

"It's an object of nature," Renzoni said of the rocks. "She liked to hold them and feel the whole rock."

The bones became part of her image repertoire.

"For her, it was representative of desert life and natural images and colors," Renzoni added.

O'Keeffe went river rafting for the first time at age 74, invited by Webb.

They headed up to Utah's Glen Canyon. O'Keeffe wrote to her sister about the trip. After an entire day of rafting, the group camped near the river and settled down, only to be awakened by a torrential downpour.

"She loved it; even the rain," Renzoni said. "She thought it was a wonderful experience."

The exhibition also includes a camping dress, complete with large pockets to collect rocks.

Established in 2018, the Georgia O'Keeffe Welcome Center is located one mile from the artist's Abiquiú home. Visitors can take a shuttle to see her home and studio.