Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Both sides strategize on anti-abortion ordinance

october 26 – Clovis city commission will soon vote on whether or not to adopt an ordinance that draws a line in the sand between the city and the state over abortion rights: The ordinance attempts to ban abortion clinics in Clovis.

Laura Wight, a Clovis resident, heads up a social media group of individuals who believe health care decisions should be between patient and doctor.

The group, Eastern New Mexico Rising, she said, is a non-partisan progressive group, a non-political group “focused on social justice issues.”

The group opposes the proposed ordinance, which is scheduled to go before Clovis city commissioners on Nov. 3.

Pastor Ryan Denton, who directs church congregations in Clovis and Lubbock, is one of the area people who have been driving adoption of the anti-abortion clinic ordinance.

“We’re trying to get this passed in communities across eastern New Mexico,” Denton said. “We saw Hobbs move the ordinance forward Thursday for a vote, I believe on Nov. 7.”

Eastern New Mexico Rising had a Zoom meeting Oct. 18 with about 35 members involved with three people from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Albuquerque and Las Cruces regarding the anti-abortion ordinance in Clovis.

“Essentially they reassured us that the issue is very much on their radar,” Wight said.

She said the ACLU is working behind the scenes on strategy and has sent letters to the mayor and city commissioners on the matter.

“The ACLU has been providing us with helpful training information,” Wight said. “For instance how to work with local governments, talking points on reproductive health care and civil liberties such as sunshine laws about access to public information. What our rights are and how to exercise them.”

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If the ordinance passes, what will Eastern New Mexico Rising’s strategy be?

“We will re-group a little bit,” Wight said. “We will be taking a closer look as to what the legal options are in terms of rescinding the ordinance and in terms of the citizens of Clovis having the health care access they need.”

She said the group will also be working on matters so “physicians, any health care business may operate in the city of Clovis.”

Wight said the mayor and commission have acknowledged the ordinance goes against New Mexico law so they expect legal action.

“That is a reckless disregard to the taxpayers of Clovis,” Wight said.

She said the group isn’t just focused on reproductive health care. The group also focuses on LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, economic equity, anything that falls under social justice.

Wight finds it interesting that the majority of the folks who join Eastern New Mexico Rising express “I’m so glad I found you, I thought I was alone.”

“It shows to me there are a lot of people in Clovis who care about these issues,” Wight said.

Pastor Denton said Lovington discussed the anti-abortion ordinance Monday night. He said officials in Grady, Texico and Portales are interested in adopting a similar ordinance also.

“This is just kind of a start,” Denton said. “Really, we see it as a matter of life and death.”

What are the plans if the ordinance isn’t adopted in Clovis?

“If they vote against this ordinance we’ll need to see changes in the leadership of Clovis,” Denton said.

“However, we are hopeful that the commission will stand strong and represent the people.”

Denton said the work he and others are doing is part of “doing everything we can to defend the lives of women and children in our city, regardless of whether or not this passes.”

“We think the ordinance is the best way to protect the women and children,” Denton said.


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