By Dan Rosecrans:
Last year the annual gathering of pro lifers in New Mexico’s State Capitol was marked by great enthusiasm. Republicans owned the House for the first time in decades and pro life legislation was high on many lists. The House passed two pieces of pro life legislation for the first time ever in New Mexico, only to be stonewalled in the Senate by Speaker Michael Sanchez.
Using the defeat last year as fuel, the pro life community came together Wednesday with a renewed determination to continue the fight at the Sanctity of Life Awareness and Unity Day in Santa Fe NM January 20, 2016.
Before the incredible procession of hundreds of Pro-Life attendees marching to the State Capitol, there was a prayer gathering at the Plaza led by Congressman Bill Redmond and J.D. Vasquez of the New Mexico Watchman. This occurred during the same time of the mass that was held at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis in Santa Fe.
After the mass concluded – the procession began to the Roundhouse. It was an magnificent event led by the Knights of Columbus and the New Mexico Catholic Bishops.
The rally, hosted by the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the rotunda of the Round House, was attended by 100’s of citizens. The new Archbishop of the Santa Fe diocese, John C. Wester was joined by Bishop Oscar Cantú (Diocese of Las Cruces) and Bishop James S. Wall (Diocese of Gallup) in speaking to a predominantly Catholic audience.
Congressman Steve Pearce encouraged the crowd to continue the fight for life. He noted the number of abortion clinics have closed “because of the decisions of millenials…the young people in this country understand that these are lives, they see the sonograms and they see that this is a life…”
Additionally the Second Congressional District Representative thanked the Catholic community “for keeping this life issue alive when others would have forgotten it”.
Senator Bill Sharer, Republican Senator from San Juan County, unveiled the strategy of the pro life legislators for this session. The effort will revolve around seeking to pass a ban on abortions after twenty weeks gestation, starting in the Senate. IF they can move pro life legislation past Speaker Sanchez, Senator Sharer shared optimism that the House would once again pass a ban and that Governor Susanna Martinez would sign a pro life bill. The Senator encouraged the pro life attendees to contact their Senator to lovingly ask them to stand for life.
Representative James Strickler, Republican from San Juan County, encouraged the crowd to “keep up the fight, we’re so close”. Strickler asked for pro lifers around the state to lovingly contact their Senator and ask them to stand up for the pro life legislation.
Pastor/Congressman Bill Redmond brought people to their feet with his stirring message on our Nation’s Founding documents. In refuting the idea that Christians should be silent in the public square he reminded listeners that “our Nation was founded, not by politicians, but by people who believed”. He went on, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, not by the government, but by the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth with certain, not questionable, unalienable rights…that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. And the next time somebody tells you to take your faith out of the public square, you remind them of the next sentence in the Declaration of Independence….and governments are instituted among men to secure these rights…every government exists to secure for the individual that which comes from the hand of Almighty God”. Redmond reminded those present that “the American government did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the American government”.
In closing, Bill Redmond, attempted to encourage pastors to stand for life. He stated some have “decided to stay silent….if your pastor’s been silent, pray with them, pray for them and plead with them to break the silence and to preach the truth regarding the right to life”.
Representative Rod Montoya, Republican out of San Juan County, stated that New Mexico’s late term abortion practice places the state closer to North Korea and China than Texas. While speaking a protester shouted “Pro Choice” without missing a beat Montoya declared, “I would love for these unborn women to have a choice….these unborn children have no choice…let’s support the choice of that child”.
This year’s target will be the Senate’s Public Affairs Committee. The thought is there are votes that can be turned if the public asserts pressure on their State Senator, especially in this election year. Representative Yvette Herrell (Republican, Otero County) was emphatic, “If your person isn’t doing what you want them to do, Get Rid of em…..you better have a talk with them, then you better pray for them and then you better vote against them”.
In a year with a 30 day legislative session, few expected to hear of any effort to revive Pro Life legislation. The determined efforts of Pro Lifers shot a bolt of energy through the crowd. The ultimate key to success lies in the efforts of the average Catholic or Evangelical.
Only when people of Faith engage in this battle will the barred doors be opened and
life in the womb be protected.