New Mexico to build $10 mln clinic to meet expected abortion demand

Abortion rights activists demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington
Abortion rights activists, including actor Busy Phillips, march past United States Supreme Court to protest the court's ruling to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Aug 31 (Reuters) - New Mexico's governor on Wednesday earmarked $10 million in public funds for a reproductive healthcare clinic to meet an expected rise in demand for abortions from women traveling from neighboring states that have banned the procedure.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order for the clinic to be built in southern New Mexico's Doña Ana County bordering Texas, where abortion has been outlawed since the U.S. Supreme Court in June ended the nationwide constitutional right to the procedure.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat running for reelection against Republican Mark Ronchetti, expected the clinic to be located in the area of Las Cruces, New Mexico's second-largest city. It ultimately could be operated by public or private service providers, including those relocating from states where abortion has been banned.

Eleven states have begun enforcing near-total abortion bans since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision providing a constitutional right to the procedure. read more

"These efforts to restrict access to reproductive health services from other states may lead more individuals to seek services from New Mexico healthcare providers," Lujan Grisham said in a video call on her executive order. "We must work to protect and expand the availability of these services to address the demands on our system."

New Mexico is the only state neighboring Texas where abortion remains legal. As one of the poorest U.S. states, it lacks sufficient reproductive healthcare services for residents as it tries to serve patients from as far away as Louisiana.

Ronchetti on Wednesday said in a statement that taxpayer funds should not used for a clinic where late-term abortions would be available for out-of-state patients.

He has proposed limiting abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk.

Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, N.M. Editing by Matthew Lewis and Lincoln Feast.

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