On Wednesday, senators of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico voted against a resolution that would have given support to the Students for Life student organization.
The resolution failed 2-3 after a tense committee meeting.
The two authoring senators, Jonathan Sanchez and Catriona Byrne, defended their legislation throughout the discussion, despite pushback against the quality of information included in the legislation.
The resolution claimed about 25 percent of women will have an abortion before the age of 45.
However, 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the abortion rate for women aged 15 to 44 is 1.2 percent — or 12.4 abortions per 1,000 women. More than 20 percent of these abortions were early medical abortions, according to CDC information.
The resolution also claimed medical side effects of abortion included sepsis, damage to internal organs and death.
According to the CDC, of the 664,435 abortions reported in the U.S. in 2013, only four women were reported to have died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortions — about 0.0006 percent.
The ASUNM resolution supported their claims with statistics from afterabortion.com, a subsidiary of an anti-abortion research group, the Elliott Institute.
“I’m here to say this doesn’t stand for the quality we need today,” said ASUNM Sen. Anand Macherla, one of the three senators to vote down the resolution.
Sanchez disagreed with Macherla.
“You guys just nit-picking our sources was rather petty,” he said in a post-meeting conversation. “We could have changed our sources.”
The resolution also claimed women who have had an abortion are at a higher risk for breast cancer. The authoring senators cited the website, abortionbreastcancer.com, which provided no information that links abortions to breast cancer.
The CDC provides no information supporting the ASUNM resolution’s claim connecting abortion to breast cancer.
The authoring senators used one clinical research source for the legislation, relying on three other blog websites for their information.
“All this resolution is doing is saying there’s a pro-life movement on campus. That’s it,” Sanchez said.
The resolution stated the student organization, Students for Life, “holds important and valid opinions.”
“The ASUNM Government acknowledges that students on the UNM campus actively participate in the Pro-Life movement,” read the resolution, written with input from campus pro-life groups.
The two supporting senators felt the issue should have been discussed before all ASUNM senators and shouldn’t have been failed in committee.
Bryne hinted that a similar resolution will likely be introduced at the tail end of the semester.
Brendon Gray is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers ASUNM. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @notgraybrendon.