A local non-profit organization is taking the charge and leading those that believe in healthcare equality to the front lines. Eastern New Mexico Rising is trying to bring anti-abortion ordinances passed in Clovis and Roosevelt County to a vote of the people. The group is circulating petitions in both communities calling for elections to decide the issue.
If the voters say they want to make the decision on these ordinances instead of their elected officials, there would be a stay of the ordinances blocking them from taking effect until the vote is taken. Both ordinances are currently in effect.
“Eastern New Mexico Rising is a non-partisan, progressive movement that empowers individuals and connects communities by promoting bodily autonomy, equality, diversity, human rights and civil liberties through dialogue, education and advocacy,” as stated on their website
The Clovis petition needed about 300 signatures or twenty percent of the people who voted in the last municipal election. They currently have almost 500 signatures to be turned into the Curry County Clerk for verification. The Roosevelt County petition is still in need of signatures with a current standing of 250 out of 800.If the petitions are successful, the number of voters needed to call for an election is a simple majority of the number who vote.
On Monday January 23, 2023, the New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torez, filed an “extraordinary writ in the New Mexico Supreme Court against Roosevelt County, Lee County, and the cities of Hobbs and Clovis for unlawfully passing ordinances that restrict access to reproductive healthcare in their communities.” As stated in a letter sent to the organization.
It continues to say that the Attorney General has taken legal action to nullify those ordinances as exceeding the lawful authority of local government. An executive order signed by Gov. Lujan Grisham in June of 2022, ensures all women in New Mexico are protected when pursuing abortion services.
“Women in every corner of New Mexico should rest assured that we will push back against any attempt to infringe on their inalienable right to make the most personal decision about their lives, their health and their families,” stated Torrez.
In response to the letter sent to Eastern New Mexico Rising, they have released the following:
“Eastern New Mexico Rising sincerely hopes Attorney General Torrez’ formal action sends a clear message that our local officials were wrong in their actions and owe our citizens an apology for putting them in harm’s way. Eastern New Mexico Rising is proud to be a grassroots local organization lifting up progressive voices on various issues in rural New Mexico. We will continue our work until all New Mexico citizens have affordable access to the healthcare they need.”
You can sign their petitions at their website enmrising.org.
On February 7, 2023, Eastern New Mexico Rising was given an update by The City of Clovis Attorney regarding the 449 signatures the organization ended up gathering.
The update notified the steering committee that only 233 signatures on the petition were considered “valid.” This means that there were 216 “invalid” signatures on the petition. Reasons a signature could be considered invalid include: not being a registered voter, the address used on the petition doesn’t match the voter record, having a felony on record, illegible writing, and even the wrong date signed. Eastern New Mexico Rising is trying to meticulously comb through the signature list to check with signers regarding inaccuracies and get them corrected. They have 10 days to validate the remaining signatures.
Unfortunately the petition for the Roosevelt County voters was not able to gain the amount of signatures needed. On February 9th, 2023 the organization has stated they are
“formally withdrawing our petition for a special ballot initiative to be held in Roosevelt County on anti-choice ordinance 2023-01 passed on January 10, 2023 by the Roosevelt County Commissioners.”