Yesterday evening, I took a drive to Deming, NM to meet with U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small at her “Congress On Your Corner” event held at a local coffee shop called Copper Kettle. The event was made up of a few dozen constituents, some carrying their talking points with them. Each person was allotted 5-minutes to speak individually with the Congresswoman.
I chose to ask her about an issue I have heard many New Mexicans reach out to me about, and which I am passionate about: the Abortion Survivors Protection Act of 2019, which protects infants born alive after a botched abortion by providing them standard medical care.
I asked Rep. Torres Small about the bill, and why she had not signed the discharge petition to get the bill to the floor, which has bipartisan support. Here is the conversation:
JOHN BLOCK: I just had one quick question. I hope it will not take up a lot of your time. It’s about the [Born Alive] Abortion Survivors Protection Act of 2019, and I believe Ann Wagner is the representative who has put it forward. And it’s mainly about saving babies who have survived botched abortions, and I just want to know – do you think those babies deserve care? And why haven’t you signed the [discharge] petition that’s going around?
REP. XOCHITL TORRES SMALL: The most important thing for saving babies and for saving the health of women – for saving women – is to make sure that they have appropriate care. And that’s why I trust the doctors in that decision, and that’s why I think that we have to make sure that we provide the services necessary – so that we aren’t – that we are putting women in incredibly dangerous situations by not allowing them to make those decisions between their medical provider, their family, their faith. That’s all so important to making those incredibly hard decisions. Thank you for that question.
BLOCK: But, I do believe that there need to be some protections there, especially because reproductive health care, you know, it’s after the abortion’s already happened. It’s not – the decision’s already been made by the woman. So, if there’s 44 cases that happened just last year,* if that baby survives an abortion, don’t you think it deserves the same standard of medical care than any other baby?
TORRES SMALL: That already exists. If a child is born, they have the right to – that exists.
BLOCK: Well, in Albuquerque, there was a case that showed that this baby… did survive an abortion, and it was left to die on the table there, and it didn’t get that standard of care that we need to have.
TORRES SMALL: The law already exists to protect them. So, I deeply appreciate your advocacy on this issue, and we are in more agreement than we realize. We care about reducing the need for abortions. We care about making sure that every child born gets the care that they need, and that is – that’s something we can do together.
BLOCK: Well, I sure hope so. That bill, it’s already been signed by Democrats and Republicans, with Dan Lipinski and Rep. Collins – they both signed the discharge petition, and I think it’s a big issue, especially in the 2nd District, there are a lot of folks that – they want their representatives to have values that reflect theirs, and I don’t think this is an unreasonable request, especially since it’s a baby that has already been, unsuccessfully aborted. It is alive.
TORRES-SMALL: The legal protections exist. So, thank you so much for that question.
Although Torres-Small seemed adamant that babies are protected from botched abortions, there are countless cases reported by the CDC showing that between the years of 2003-2014, at least 143 babies were born alive and subsequently died after abortion, and babies right here in New Mexico at UNM Hospital were born alive and left to die.
And even though it does not seem like the conversation changed Rep. Torres Small’s mind at all, I hope that seeing a constituent face-to-face about this issue will show her that the voters are watching how she acts on the abortion issue. At least now, we have her official stance on the record.
Rep. Torres Small is slated to headline a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood on August 27 in Albuquerque, NM.