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New Mexico Passes Gun Safety Act, Joins Growing List of States Protecting Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Access

On Tuesday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 9, better known as the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act, into law. It is now a criminal offense to carelessly store a firearm and permit a child to manipulate it inappropriately.[0] The bill also offers protections for transgender people seeking care.[1]

The signing of the bill follows ordinances that several municipalities in the state had previously passed related to abortion care access after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.[1] It bars public bodies from discriminating against individuals’ health care on the basis of gender and from refusing or blocking their access to reproductive health care.[2]

Several Democratic-controlled states have moved to reaffirm reproductive care in response to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling.[3] Earlier in 2020, Minnesota's Democratic governor passed a bill into law, recognizing the “fundamental right” to obtain an abortion in the state.[3] In 2020, California passed multiple laws that increased access to abortion services, such as shielding providers and people who seek abortion care in California from lawsuits that originate in other states.[4]

Meanwhile, a federal court in Texas heard arguments this week to block the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, one of the two drugs used in a medication abortion, which made up more than half of US abortions in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute.[3] During arguments, the judge appointed by Trump gave the indication that he is likely to revoke the FDA's approval, although he has not made a final ruling yet.[4]

So far this year, lawmakers in Tennessee, Mississippi, Utah and South Dakota have enacted legislation to restrict minors’ access to reproductive and gender-affirming care.[4] Additionally, more than 80 bills seeking to restrict access to gender-affirming care have been introduced around the country through early last month, according to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union.[3]

This report was contributed to by Devan Cole, Veronica Stracqualursi, Sydney Kashiwagi and Tierney Sneed of CNN.[3] The Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act is the latest measure in a string of bills aimed at protecting reproductive and gender-affirming health care access in the United States.

0. “Gun storage bill to be signed by Governor” KRQE News 13, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-government/gun-storage-bill-to-be-signed-by-governor

1. “House OKs protections for out-of-state abortion seekers, providers after heated debate” Yahoo News, 18 Mar. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/house-oks-protections-state-abortion-033300792.html

2. “Bill Safeguarding Abortion Rights Heads to Governor's Desk” Santa Fe Reporter, 13 Mar. 2023, https://www.sfreporter.com/news/morningword/2023/03/13/bill-safeguarding-abortion-rights-heads-to-governors-desk/

3. “New Mexico governor signs bill protecting access to reproductive and gender-affirming care into law – Local News 8” LocalNews8.com, 18 Mar. 2023, https://localnews8.com/news/2023/03/17/new-mexico-governor-signs-bill-protecting-access-to-reproductive-and-gender-affirming-care-into-law/

4. “New Mexico governor signs bill protecting access to reproductive and gender-affirming care into law” News-Press Now, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.newspressnow.com/news/national_news/politics/new-mexico-governor-signs-bill-protecting-access-to-reproductive-and-gender-affirming-care-into-law/article_7af37d58-2edf-5849-b796-6a0b565d31ba.html

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