Abortion access limited in rural parts, counties of New Mexico

While New Mexico has some of the U.S.’s least restrictive abortion laws, many in rural parts of the state cannot easily access the service. 

It is difficult to find abortion care outside of Albuquerque or Las Cruces, said Reproductive Rights Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Ellie Rushforth.

Ninety-one percent of counties in New Mexico do not have a facility that offers abortion care. Santa Fe, Bernalillo and Doña Ana are the only counties in the state that have such clinics.

Rushforth said one in four women will access abortion care in their lifetime. A study conducted by the The Guttmacher Institute found that 23.7% of women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they are 45.

In parts of southeast New Mexico people may have to travel over 200 miles to reach the closest healthcare provider that offers some form of abortion care, according to, a website operated by Power to Decide, a nonprofit campaign aimed at preventing unplanned pregnancy through sexual health and contraceptive education, according to its website.

A sign for Planned Parenthood is seen from the road on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 in Sioux Falls.

Data shows that when “abortion is illegal or highly restricted, pregnant people may resort to unsafe means to end an unwanted pregnancy, including self-inflicted abdominal and bodily trauma, ingestion of dangerous chemicals and reliance on unqualified or predatory abortion providers,” according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Twenty-five million women around the world resort to these unsafe practices every year leading to an average of 44,000 maternal deaths annually, the ACOG stated on its website.