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Texas Women Cross State Lines For Abortion Services

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Marisa Demarco / KUNM
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Joan Lamunyon Sanford, executive director for the New Mexico Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice

A law in Texas that opponents say could cause the shutdown of all but 10 abortion clinics there is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in early March. In the meantime, some women seeking the procedure have been coming to neighboring New Mexico instead.

Joan Lamunyon Sanford is the executive director for the New Mexico Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice. She coordinates volunteers who provide transportation and lodging for women who come in from out of state to get an abortion. And she said a surprising 41 percent of them were from Texas in 2015—many from rural regions.

"The women who we serve have additional economic burdens. We know that these restrictions fall unfairly more often on women of color," she said. 

Most of the women who call the coalition for help call from Texas, but few of them actually make it to New Mexico.  

Texas officials say the law, passed in 2013, will improve women’s health. It would, among other things, require clinics to create hospital-like conditions at great expense. That portion has been tied up in court. Meanwhile, wait times for abortion increased.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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