As we do our best to set politics aside and navigate this national pandemic together, I was reminded this week that politics are never truly set aside.
Consider the actions of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham this past weekend…
On Saturday evening, Governor Lujan Grisham suddenly and unexpectedly revised her Public Health Order by removing the exception for churches and other houses of worship. While the faith community has been voluntarily complying with the Governor’s ban on mass gatherings, the exception had allowed churches to maintain the essential working staff needed to stream services, conduct socially distanced ministries like drive-thru prayer lines, and provide critical resources to people in need. This all changed less than 17 or so hours before most churches were scheduled to commence their Easter experiences, leading to confusion and in some cases, the cancelation of ministry plans. House Minority Whip, State Representative Rod Montoya, quickly released a public statement calling the Governor’s actions “egregious,” and Legacy Church in Albuquerque filed a request for an injunction in federal court. A ruling in the case is still pending.
Also consider the actions of Attorney General Hector Balderas earlier this month…
While other states were suspending elective abortions to conserve PPE for COVID-19-related medical care, Attorney General Balderas was busy pressuring the federal government to waive standard regulations on abortion pills so that women can terminate their pregnancies at home. In a letter signed by 21 State Attorneys General, Balderas also requested expanded abortion access through telehealth. New Mexico is already a participating state for TelAbortion, a website that offers online abortion evaluations and abortion pills by mail.
Now consider the message communicated by our State leaders through these actions …
According to Governor Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Balderas, abortions are so essential that abortion clinics must remain open and we should even waive standard drug regulations to increase abortion access. At the same time, churches are non-essential and must remain closed. Abortion clinics can have long lines of people—many coming from out of state. But five local church members cannot gather in their church building to package and prepare food boxes for families in need.
I have been extremely supportive of Governor Lujan Grisham and her efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will continue to urge all New Mexicans to practice social distancing and avoid mass gatherings. However, the Governor’s recent decision to single out churches while continuing to protect the abortion industry had to be addressed.
Governor Lujan Grisham repeatedly says we are in this together and we must do all we can to save lives.
I agree with you, Governor, so please do us a favor. Treat the church like you are treating all other essential services and help us save even more lives by closing the abortion clinics in New Mexico.
President and Executive Direector