Hispanic Action Network was right to raise abortion concerns

January 6, 2019

A little history. In March 2017, the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops penned a letter on its website reminding legislators of church teaching regarding issues of life. In October/November 2018, Hispanic Action Network and a group of concerned Catholics placed that same letter in newspapers throughout New Mexico, directing the reader’s attention to the positions on life of then-U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.

The response from New Mexico Catholic bishops was swift and severe. Their executive director testified that this letter was not meant to be included in a political race comparing Congressman Pearce’s record on life, which is in keeping with church teaching, against Catholic Lujan Grisham’s, which is not. To me, it was clear the conference of bishops wanted to be missing in action in the campaign for governor.

Next came the blue wave, with Democrats winning more seats in the state House of Representative and all executive positions. Inside of two weeks from Election Day, Las Cruces state Rep. Joanne Ferrary announced her intention to author a bill, with Lujan Grisham’s approval, legalizing abortion in New Mexico. (This would remove a decades-old law, rendered moot by the abortion-legalizing Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, that criminalized abortion in the state except for certain circumstances. The 1969 law makes it a felony for an abortion provider to end a women’s pregnancy, with exceptions for such instances as rape, birth defects or grave threats to the woman’s health.)

Though the session is yet to begin, Democrats, and Ferrary in particular, cannot wait to cement abortion as an absolute right. The targeting of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was all about preserving Roe and preventing a conservative Supreme Court from sending the issue of the legality of abortion to individual states.

If the new Trump justices help overturn Roe, abortion would be illegal in New Mexico. To Ferrary, this must not stand. It has come to a head in our backyard. Just like Hispanic Action Network warned.

This turn of events warrants questions for the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of national exit polls, a majority of Catholics voted this year for the party with the pro-choice platform. Startling. Instead of distancing themselves from the messenger, if bishops had embraced the network’s message, repeated the message and blessed the message from the newspaper and the pulpit, might election results have been different?

If bishops still believe that cooperation with abortion is a non-negotiable mortal sin, is it not their calling to shepherd the souls of the voters and legislators who continue propagating the culture of death? If the pro-abortion public is in violation of unequivocal church teaching, then bishops are derelict when they fail to speak out.

One hopes New Mexico bishops would personally contact every Catholic man in the Legislature considering this vote and plead with them to heed the natural law in defense of the most vulnerable.

One hopes the New Mexico bishops would personally contact every Catholic woman in the Legislature and plead that they would heed the motherly instinct so perfectly demonstrated 2,000 years ago.

One hopes the bishops would personally contact Gov. Lujan Grisham and plead with her, as a professed Catholic, to veto this bill should it pass the Legislature. They owe it to her to question her Catholic bona fides and warn her what she risks by signing this bill.

Louis Biad is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces. Biad has a monthly opinion column for the Las Cruces Sun News.

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