A small New Mexico town takes a powerful stand for life

Supreme Court lawsuit from Eunice, New Mexico

David faced Goliath.

Thirteen American colonies took on the British Empire.

The 1980 US Olympic hockey team (made of amateur and college players) faced off against the seemingly unstoppable Soviets — the best team in the world — and won!

Stories like these are inspiring because they illustrate how even the smallest can stand up and triumph against incredible odds.

Although the final result remains to be seen, the small town of Eunice, New Mexico is taking an incredible stand in a landmark case that could have far-reaching implications on abortion laws across the country.

Eunice, NM vs. Grisham and Torrez

Recently, the City of Eunice, New Mexico (with a population of 2,997) announced a lawsuit against Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Raul Torrez that could result in a de-facto abortion ban across the US. 

Under the leadership of Lujan Grisham and Torrez, New Mexico has positioned itself as a national leader in abortion rights and access. Southwest Coalition for Life’s Mark Cavaliere describes Grisham’s vision for New Mexico as a “back alley abortion clinic for Texas in violation of federal law.” 

“Our state’s leadership is focused on spending 10 million dollars of our taxpayer dollars on opening another abortion facility in our state,” explains Eunice Councilwoman Erica Jones, but the real need is “more hospitals and a better infrastructure for our health care needs.” 

“New Mexico’s pro-abortion leadership is ignoring federal law,” says Mark Lee Dickson of Right to Life of East Texas. “Until the Supreme Court of the United States addresses this issue, there will continue to be pro-abortion State leadership who do everything in their power to attempt to nullify these federal abortion statutes.”

Although the City of Eunice hasn’t yet faced legal action for this ordinance, New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez has filed lawsuits against the cities of Clovis and Hobbs, as well as Lea and Roosevelt counties. This led to the approval of House Bill 7 (HB7), which attempts to prevent cities from obstructing abortion access. Some legislators, including New Mexico State Senator David Gallegos, believe the Attorney General’s actions are an attempt to discourage other New Mexico cities and counties from passing comparable legislation.

But Eunice hasn’t been intimidated by HB7 or the pending lawsuits against other cities.

What is the Comstock Act?

The Comstock Act is a 150 year old standing law prohibiting mail distribution of various items — including abortifacients and abortion paraphernalia. 

The current legal case, originating in Lea County, NM, centers around this legislation that was approved by the City of Eunice. The lawsuit would require New Mexico to comply with standing federal law.

In the Roe vs. Wade era (from 1973 – 2022), the Comstock Act was unenforceable. Roe declared that abortion was protected under the constitutional right to privacy. Although the law remained “on the books,” the Comstock Act was effectively nullified because it limited access to materials and supplies deemed necessary for making a reproductive health decision.

As we all know, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in 2022 with the Dobbs decision — and gave the authority to create of abortion laws to individual states. Although this was a victory in the fight for life, and some states have instituted limitations on abortion, it doesn’t change the fact that abortions are now largely conducted at home, by the mother, via abortion drugs like mifepristone.

Enforcing Comstock laws could provide the Pro-Life Movement with an even bigger victory — by making it virtually impossible for abortion providers to conduct business. This is due to the fact that these providers rely on mail delivery of abortion medications, instruments, and other supplies. 

The next stage in the fight for life

At a press conference organized by the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative in Washington, D.C., Eunice Mayor Billy Hobbs announced the City’s lawsuit against Governor Grishham and Attorney General Torrez. 

Representing the City of Eunice are former Texas Solicitor General Jonathan F. Mitchell, Attorney Mike Seibel from Abortion on Trial in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Attorney Tommy D. Parker of Eunice.

The timing and location of this announcement is intended to pressure the Supreme Court to clarify these Comstock laws as the justices issue orders on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to block the FDA approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.

“We’re hoping this will help fuel the fire to get this resolved,” Gallegos told the Albuquerque Journal. “We already have a de facto federal abortion ban here in America, and every single abortion facility in New Mexico is in violation of these federal abortion statutes.”

Taking a stand

Whether on its own or together with similar cases across the nation, supporters of this lawsuit expect that the case will eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. And it could have a huge impact on the future of pro-life legislation in the United States. 

The small city of Eunice is taking a stand for life, and isn’t backing down. Find out more about how this case progresses and how you can take a stand for life by subscribing to our newsletter.

Juanita Ortega

Juanita Ortega

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