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Post-Roe, what's next for reproductive health?

An attendee at the rally for reproductive rights at Tiguex Park on the evening of Friday, June 24, 2022, holds up a sign implying that guns have more rights than people with uteruses in light of this week’s rulings by the Supreme Court.
Shelby Wyatt
via Source NM
An attendee at the rally for reproductive rights at Tiguex Park on the evening of Friday, June 24, 2022, holds up a sign implying that guns have more rights than people with uteruses in light of this week’s rulings by the Supreme Court.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling reversing Roe v. Wade last week, advocates for reproductive healthcare are asking: what now? Source New Mexico's Shaun Griswold spoke to KUNM's Alice Fordham about priorities and plans for abortion providers and their supporters, starting by reflecting on a protest held Friday nightin Tiguex Park.

SHAUN GRISWOLD: Really, it was a space for a lot of people that were just angry and upset and not really quite sure what to do next. And so people who were hearing about the news and the impact of roping Wade overturned, were sensing at least a little bit of relief, that they're in a state that that will continue to allow abortion care services in New Mexico. And also wondering what's going to be next when it comes to expanding protections, when it comes to funding services that are providing this type of care, when it comes to providing protections for providers, as well as protections for people who are coming from out of state.

KUNM: So people are getting their heads around the fact that abortion is likely to remain legal in New Mexico, but very likely people from other states are going to be coming. Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah are expected to have all but complete bans on abortion quite soon, is anything being done that you're hearing about in your reporting to expand capacity to expand access here?

GRISWOLD: At this point, politicians are making promises. They're all running for election. So there's campaign rhetoric we're hearing. But on the ground, you see abortion services that are asking for more donations, that are seeing more donations coming in, because their capacity just has to expand. They are working to try and hire more individuals who can provide services for somebody who comes from out of state who just may need to be able to access and navigate transportation, a place to stay, a safe place to visit while they're here.

And then there's also another element that advocacy groups are working on that is looking to make sure that people actually access reliable clinic services. What's happening here in New Mexico in a way is there's a bit of a misinformation going on, where there are organizations that are offering pregnancy consultation, and doing it under the guise of 'we will help you with with the decision you're going to make with your child'. But it doesn't offer any type of options that are abortion services. And in fact, many of these services can be right next to a Planned Parenthood and often religious organizations that try to persuade individuals to not have an abortion, but are advertised in a way that is offering you know, full support services, prenatal care.

So this is some of the on the ground work that that advocacy groups and providers are having to deal with, this increase in services that are seemingly trying to misdirect individuals when they are trying to get an abortion service.

KUNM: And then in some of your reporting, you've touched on the particular issues accessing abortion care for Native communities. Can you tell me a little bit about what they are?

GRISWOLD: Yes. So number one, the Hyde Amendment is a federal legislation that bans federal services like the Indian Health Services from using any funds to pay for abortion services. So what this means is that the health provider that most Native people rely on, IHS, does not offer abortion services and care. So number one, there are no tribal communities in New Mexico that offer safe abortions. So anybody who lives in any of the pueblos, the Navajo Nation or any of the Apache band communities has to travel to Albuquerque, Las Cruces or to another city. So as of right now, New Mexico tribes do not offer safe and reliable abortion services either by the IHS hospital entity or any other nonprofit group or community health provider that that exists in these tribal communities.

KUNM: And there has been some conversation about abortion clinics being set up on tribal lands as a way of circumventing the new federal law. How likely do you think it is that that might happen?

GRISWOLD: You know, the likeliness of all that is going to be really determined on the sovereign status of these tribes. You might see one that would consider it but then the rest might not, you know, there are 23 tribes in New Mexico. So the conversation is ongoing, whether that's very likely. I think we're too far away from that to determine if that could even be a possibility at this moment.

This coverage was made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Alice Fordham joined the news team in 2022 after a career as an international correspondent, reporting for NPR from the Middle East and later Latin America and Europe. She also worked as a podcast producer for The Economist among other outlets, and tries to meld a love of sound and storytelling with solid reporting on the community. She grew up in the U.K. and has a small jar of Marmite in her kitchen for emergencies.
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