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N.M. plans $10M abortion clinic near Tex. border, expecting post-Roe demand

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), center, signed an executive order that pledges $10 million to build a clinic that would provide abortions and other pregnancy care. (Morgan Lee/AP)

New Mexico will earmark $10 million to set up a reproductive health clinic in a county that borders Texas, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said Wednesday, to prepare for a possible increase of abortion seekers from nearby states that have restricted access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The new clinic, to be set up in Doña Ana County under an executive order, will provide “the full spectrum of reproductive health care,” including preventive services and postpartum support, Lujan Grisham’s office said. Doña Ana is just north of El Paso and about 100 miles east of the Arizona border. Texas law heavily restricts abortions, while Arizona has a pre-Roe abortion ban that may be enforced, prompting many clinics there to halt procedures on June 24.

Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed.

“As more states move to restrict and prohibit access to reproductive care, New Mexico will continue to not only protect access to abortion, but to expand and strengthen reproductive health care throughout the state,” Lujan Grisham said.

Lujan Grisham’s directive reflects a political divide that has been widening since June, when the Supreme Court overturned its 1973 decision that established a right to abortion across the United States. Since the ruling, conservative states have pushed for stricter rules against abortion, while liberal states have sought more explicit protections for abortion rights.

In New Mexico, Elisa Martinez, a former Republican primary candidate for the U.S. Senate, said Lujan Grisham’s order will force taxpayers to fund “a new abortion business.” Kayla Herring, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said the move will expand access to reproductive health care in a part of the state where such services had been lacking.

New Mexico has attracted interest from out-of-state abortion clinics since the overturning of Roe. In Texas, Alan Braid, a provider who has resisted his state’s antiabortion restrictions, has said he’d open a clinic in New Mexico. In Mississippi, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the clinic at the heart of the Supreme Court decision in June, has announced similar plans.

In June, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order that barred New Mexico state agencies from cooperating with extradition attempts and investigations in other states that criminalize abortion service providers.

That order, which came after Massachusetts and Minnesota took similar actions, also aimed to protect New Mexico abortion providers from discipline for providing an out-of-state resident abortion services, according to her office.

But a string of other states, including New Mexico neighbors Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas, have sought to impose legislation that would almost totally ban abortions. Providing abortions in Texas is punishable with a life sentence. Oklahoma bars abortion from the point of conception. In Arizona, the state’s GOP attorney general is trying to revive a strict 1901 antiabortion law.

“The goal here is, build it, and they will come,” Lujan Grisham said after signing the executive order.