In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, New Mexico’s gubernatorial candidates issued expectedly opposing responses to the abortion issue. Incumbent Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham shot out a fundraising email with the usual liberal fear mongering, claiming “Americans are living in perpetual fear” as a result of the ruling and conjuring up the “back-alley” abortion rhetoric.
Grisham states “the GOP’s plan all along” has been to “ban abortion” (the SCOTUS ruling does no such thing), and claims “my opponent even called reproductive rights ‘barbaric.'”
Ronchetti took a more moderate approach, describing Grisham’s position as “out of step” with the views of most New Mexicans and calling for a “middle ground” in a state that has become a hot spot for late-term abortions.
“While I am pro-life, governors cannot act alone and any changes to our laws will require collaboration and agreement with the legislature. As Governor, I would seek a middle ground with our legislature that ends the practice of late-term and partial birth abortion that the current Governor supports. I believe permitting abortion up to 15 weeks and in cases involving rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is at risk is a very reasonable position that most in New Mexico will support regardless of party affiliation.”—Mark Ronchetti, GOP candidate for New Mexico governor
Contrary to Grisham’s claim, Ronchetti is clearly not advocating for a statewide abortion ban. Nor did he call reproductive rights “barbaric.”
He called late-term abortion barbaric. And most Americans agree.
While a majority of Americans consider themselves “pro-choice” (55%, according to Gallup) and even more opposed overturning Roe v. Wade (58%), responses to the abortion question change dramatically when asked about first-, second-, and third-term abortions specifically.
Fifty-five percent of Americans think second-term abortions should be illegal. That number jumps to 71% for third-term abortions. An Associated Press/NORC poll last year tallied opposition to late-term abortions at 81%. A Marist poll in January found only 17% thought abortion should be available at any time during a pregnancy.
New Mexico has a long history of electing Democrats, but we remain a culturally Conservative state. Ronchetti’s position on abortion is more in line with the values of New Mexicans than Grisham’s. There’s really no disputing that.
Democrats “peacefully protest” across the country, many demanding Congress take action either by packing the Supreme Court or passing an abortion bill. Neither is likely to happen.
Packing the court would be a short-term fix that Republicans could reverse after retaking the Senate this November and the White House in 2024 (both very likely). Passing an abortion bill would be a political disaster for Democrats. Lawmakers are beholden to their constituents, and because most Americans oppose late-term abortions, any law would have to reflect Americans’ nuanced views on the issue.
Killing a viable fetus at nine months is grotesque. Arguing to legalize it is political suicide. If given the opportunity to debate the issue, Ronchetti’s middle ground position will play better than Grisham’s unconditional support for abortion.
Democrats used to support abortions that were “safe, legal, and rare.” At some point since the ’90s, the ideology took a far left turn toward advocating abortion up to and even after birth. That shift is why the majority of Americans don’t support late-term abortions. It’s why the issue has become more and more polarizing. And it’s why Roe is no more.
Categories: 2022 Governor's Race
Law that protects the rights of the three people involved makes sense. But the end to the national wedge issue is a good thing. The law will evolve once the wedge is removed. I suspect the extremes of either side will not prevail.