Hundreds of community members gathered to express their outrage on the evening of Friday, June 24 over the Supreme Court ruling to reverse Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, overturning the constitutional right to abortion and making it possible for states to ban abortions outright.
The march was organized by numerous grassroots groups including New Mexico Women's March, Planned Parenthood, the New Mexico Black Central Organizing Committee, Indigenous Women Rising and the New Mexico Stronger Together Coalition.
While New Mexico has no explicit abortion protections in place in its legislation, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham overturned the state’s 1969 abortion ban last year and has been outspoken about protecting abortion access in the state. However, she is up for re-election this coming November against Republican candidate Mark Ronchetti, who is opposed to abortion.
Lujan Grisham showed up to the rally to deliver a speech, proclaiming her continued support for abortion rights.
“This can not just be today … We want every person and every family and every woman to know that this is the state that has your back,” Lujan Grisham said.
During the end of her speech, however, she was interrupted and corrected for using female-centered language, thus excluding transgender and nonbinary people who are also directly impacted by the ruling.
“We respect each other. We don’t divide each other,” Lujan Grisham said.
While many speakers called for continued voting to institute change, others advocated for more extreme measures of change: voices from the crowd yelled “revolution, not reform.” Rachael Lorenzo, a co-founder of Indigenous Women Rising, said “voting is not the only way,” while calling President Joe Biden out for shying away from using the word abortion while she adressed the need for more protection than Roe offered.
“We've never known a world where Roe wasn’t guaranteed and let me tell you right now, Roe is the bare minimum. We are better than the bare minimum. We deserve more,” Lorenzo said.
Many speakers called for continued intersectionality in the movement and to uplift the voices of people of color and denounce the white supremacy that the bans are rooted in. Co-founder of the New Mexico Black Central Organizing Committee Erica Davis-Crump took time to list and highlight 12 Black women that were trailblazers in the reproductive rights movement.
“The people who are going to suffer are going to be Black, Indigenous, Brown, LGBTQ+ people. So just keeping us at the center is really critical,” Davis-Crump said.
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Of the 13 states’ with “trigger bans,” designed to make abortion illegal following such an occurence, five states — Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky and South Dakota — all banned or made abortion illegal immediately following the Supreme Court decision, according to Politico. The remaining trigger law states will either go into effect in 30 days following the ban or following certification of the law by an attorney general, governor or other official government body, depending on the state.
New Mexico’s proximity to Texas, Oklahoma, Utah and Arizona (the latter of which has an abortion ban predating Roe, though unlikely to be enforced) means an almost certain influx of patients coming to New Mexico to seek a safe abortion. This already began happening on a smaller scale following the Texas six-week abortion ban, which gave rise to an increase in out-of-state visitors to New Mexico abortion providers.
One of the speakers present at the rally included Dr. Smita Carroll, a gynecologist and self-proclaimed “loud and proud abortion provider.” Carroll spoke about how the impact of this ban will be felt prominently on the shoulders of communities of color and individuals in poverty who may not be able afford access and the effect aboriton bans have already had on people traveling from neighboring states.
“I carry every single one of my patient’s stories with me to this day, feeling their anxiety of not being able to access needed, safe, critically important health care. They're stressed due to delays for weeks that result from being unable to coordinate finances (and) travel logistics in order to even to make an appointment,” Carroll said.
Many in the crowd were fearful of what rights the Supreme Court could reconsider next, comingin light of Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion suggesting the court reexamine rulings around same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships and contraceptives.
“As a Muslim woman, I'm fearful (of) what laws will come down on us as immigrant communities. Xenophobia is very much alive, and the right of privacy has been violated,” Samia Assed, chair of New Mexico Women’s March, said.
Davis-Crump said that, as a black woman, she has never had trust in the government and that the best way to go about change is to trust your community and foster connections, as change can’t happen alone.
Barbara Jordan, a community activist and first Black mayoral candidate in Rio Rancho, was one of the last speakers of the night and encouraged people to keep showing up in support of the right to abortion “because we have to.”
“This is our motherfucking America,” Jordan said.
Madeline Pukite is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @maddogpukite
Zara Roy is the copy chief at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @zarazzledazzle