The Latest: House votes to rescind New Mexico abortion ban

New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf, left, reacts to the rapid approval of 42 bills by the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, in Santa Fe, N.M., while sitting alongside Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, right, D-Albuquerque. Grisham signed bills that span issues from teacher pensions to child foster care and public disclosures by lobbyists that had been vetoed by former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on votes by the New Mexico state House (all times local):

10:40 p.m.

The state House of Representatives has approved a bill that would remove New Mexico’s dormant criminal ban on abortion in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a 1973 decision that made the procedure legal.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration after the 40-29 vote Wednesday in the House. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has vowed to sign the measure if it reaches her desk.

A 1969 New Mexico statute made it a felony for an abortion provider to terminate a pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, birth defects and serious threats to a woman’s health. The law has been unenforceable for 45 years because of the high court’s ruling.

Several House Democrats have joined with Republican in opposing the bill. They are Reps. Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup, Wonda Johnson of Church Rock, Anthony Allison of Fruitland, Candy Sweetser of Deming, Patricio Ruiloba of Albuquerque, and Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde. Republican Rep. Paul Bandy was absent.

More than 4,000 abortions are performed each year in the state. New Mexico is home to one of the nation’s few providers of late-term abortions.


8:00 a.m.

The state House of Representatives is poised to vote on Democratic-sponsored bills to raise the statewide minimum wage, guarantee abortion rights and replace the Columbus Day holiday with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

House Speaker Brian Egolf planned for lengthy deliberations Wednesday on the initiatives.

The minimum wage bill has the backing of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and would raise base pay to $12 an hour in 2021. Restaurant owners opposed a provision to do away with exemptions for tipped workers and were petitioning the governor.

Leading Democrats want to remove the state’s criminal ban on abortion in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a decision that made the procedure legal.

Votes also are looming on bills to expand background checks on firearms and ensure medical insurance coverage for contraception.

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