Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Texas abortion patients flew to Albuquerque for a day-long clinic visit

A New Mexico abortion fund provider last week planned a coordinated attempt to fly more than 10 Texas abortion patients into a clinic in Albuquerque for a day of abortion care.

The effort is in response to Texas SB 8, which bans abortions after six weeks for people in Texas. New Mexico abortion providers have expanded to include the additional Texas patients. Joan Lamunyon Sanford, executive director of the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which orchestrated the group’s “first action,” said it marked the start of the introduction of Pastoral Care for Abortion Access.

A Texas chaplain and case manager also traveled with the patients.

“It’s just more of what we’ve done that we need to do as a religious organization,” she said.

New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is one of the few abortion fund providers in the state. Abortion fund providers in New Mexico have also seen a surge in callers and demand due to restrictions in Texas.

Lamunyon Sanford said she couldn’t say exactly how many patients arrived on Friday for security and privacy reasons, but said the patients had flown from Dallas. Texas SB 8, which bans abortion after six weeks, encourages what many in the reproductive rights community refer to as “vigilante groups” because anyone can sue someone who “aids or” a person who has an abortion in Texas Support provides “.

She also said the staged action required significant coordination with the Albuquerque Clinic and the patients and others involved in Texas.

Lamunyon Sanford said that due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to issue an injunction against Texas law while reproductive rights groups try to fight it in court, the national network of which the coalition is a member decided that To start initiative.

Lamunyon Sanford said the network is reminding itself of the way it did prior to the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade worked almost 50 years ago. The national network, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, had an advisory network for clergymen founded in 1969. The network helped women find safe abortion providers when abortion was illegal in most states, including New Mexico.

Related: NM-based abortion fund twice as busy as before the pandemic

Lamunyon Sanford said the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice needed help with travel to obtain an abortion, “has continued to increase”.

“It’s at least three times as much as in the same months last year. It kept going up. We’re close to 400 callers for the year, ”she said.

She said the majority of the callers were from Texas.

She said a Texas abortion fund was helping patients flown in with clinic fees. She said the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice raised funds to pay for extra money for the trip. The coalition also provided breakfast to patients in Texas and one additional meal in Albuquerque.

“We have had some very generous donors, but the main thing is, it’s a band-aid,” she said of the group’s effort.

She said there are too many restrictions on abortion in addition to the Texas ban on abortion, including the Hyde Amendment, a federal regulation that bans the government from donating funds to abortion, which affects many people across the country. These include military personnel, federal employees who receive insurance through their employers, and Native Americans who receive medical care through Indian Health Services.

Lamunyon Sanford said it was really important that the religious left and religious progressives “really move forward” and “face these really harmful messages” coming from anti-abortion religious groups.

“We didn’t say that loud enough. It’s better to put it through our actions and that was part of what we did, ”she said.

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