New abortion clinic opens in ABQ
Whole Woman’s Health, which shut down its four Texas clinics last summer, following the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe V. Wade, opened its new New Mexico clinic yesterday in Albuquerque. Whole Woman’s Health President and CEO Any Hagstrom Miller, in a statement, noted that today “marks nine months to the day that we were forced to shutter our Texas clinical operations; today we are once again able to provide abortion care to New Mexicans, Oklahomans and to the communities we served for 20 years in Texas. As we open our doors to both local communities and those forced to migrate from other states for care, we remain unbelievably grateful for the thousands of supporters from around the world that came together to make this clinic a reality.” The clinic, which is located at 718 Lomas Blvd., and minutes from Albuquerque International Sunport, provides first and second trimester in-clinic abortion procedures to 18 weeks of gestational age, with plans to expand care up to 24 weeks in the near future. The clinic also provides medication abortion care to 11 weeks. Whole Woman’s Health and the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance were at the center of a lawsuit challenging Texas’ so-called anti-abortion “Heartbeat Act,” Senate Bill 8. To help fund its relocation to New Mexico—which the clinic says has become “a safe haven for the more than 50,000 Texans” annually seeking abortion care—WWH launched a GoFundMe campaign last summer, which raised more than $300,000. “Today marks the next chapter of our organization,” WWH Senior Director of Clinical Services Marva Sadler said in a statement. “Since the start of SB8, we have painstakingly watched our patients be forced travel as far away as Minneapolis, Alexandria and Baltimore for abortion care. As of today, we can now offer a clinical location closer to home.”
Gov signs new conservation fund into law
Two conservation bills from the recently adjourned legislative session have become the law of the Land of Enchantment. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham yesterday signed Senate Bill 9, the so-called Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, which creates recurring funding for conservation efforts. The fund will consist of two $50 million funds, one dedicated to existing state programs and the rest going into a permanent trust fund managed by the State Investment Council, with funding used for current programs prioritizing: land and water stewardship; forest and watershed health; outdoor recreation and infrastructure; agriculture and working lands; historic preservation; and wildlife species protection. “There are few states that value the land and water like we do here in New Mexico,” the governor said in a statement. Co-sponsor Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, said “every New Mexican should be proud to support” the state’s investment in protecting its natural resources. “And with this sustained, predictable funding in place, we gain access to untapped federal dollars that will multiply these investments many times over,” he noted. Lujan Grisham yesterday also signed Senate Bill 72, creating the Wildlife Corridors Action Plan, which, along with a $5 million appropriation in the budget, is aimed at 11 high-priority safe passage projects around the state designed to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and restore habitat connectivity (for a look at the challenges wildlife face crossing roads and such, check out this 2021 interactive New York Times story).
Clean energy concerns derail Green Amendment
While New Mexico now has a dedicated conservation fund, the state does not have a Green Amendment, despite legislative sponsors’ third effort. In brief, Senate Joint Resolution 6, which did not make it out of the Senate Rules Committee, would have allowed New Mexicans next year to vote on a constitutional amendment guaranteeing their environmental rights, and repealed the state’s pollution control provisions to add a new section to Article 2 guaranteeing said rights. The Washington Post looks at how the bill derailed this year, noting New Mexico is one of at least 13 states pushing for such amendments, but running into “headwinds” from concerns about how they might impact renewable energy projects. In the case of New Mexico, the Post reports, bill sponsor Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, says she held the bill back from discussion after its fiscal analysis report and a memo from the Interwest Energy Alliance included such concerns—conclusions she characterized as “misinformation,” telling the Post’s Climate 202 newsletter: “It is basically saying that the green amendment would be bad for renewable energy, which is absolutely false. The analysis is filled with misstatements, miscitations of laws.”
Court upholds Jemez Pueblo title to portion of Valles Caldera
The Pueblo of Jemez will preserve a portion of its title to lands in the Valles Caldera National Preserve, following a split ruling this week by the 10th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals; the decision follows years of legal dispute. As the Associated Press reports, Jemez Pueblo argued its “aboriginal property rights—or rights to occupy and use land as their ancestors did—were never extinguished despite a lower court ruling in 2019 that found the US government had clear title to the expansive preserve.” In the course of the legal dispute, the Pueblo identified four specific areas within the Valles Caldera; the ruling this week rejected three of the four areas, but acknowledged the pueblo’s title to an area known as Banco Bonito. Among other findings, as Law360 explains, the majority opinion partially reverses a trial court ruling from September 2020 and says District Judge James O. Browning misapplied the criteria for determining if a tribe could claim aboriginal title to a certain place. “That review does not, as Judge Browning held, strip the tribe of land rights simply because it didn’t prevent other Indigenous people from using the same area, they ruled.”
COVID-19 by the numbers
Reported March 23: New cases: 277; 673,541 total cases. Deaths: two; Santa Fe County has had 401 total deaths*; 9,092 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 61; patients on ventilators: four *state dashboard decreased the number of deaths in Santa Fe County; SFR has a pending request for verification.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent March 23 “community levels” map shows DeBaca County has turned red, indicating high community levels of COVID-19 (a metric that considers both hospital and case data). The CDC recommends people living in red counties take a number of precautions, including wearing masks. The current map also shows four counties (twice as many as last week) are now yellow, with medium levels: Cibola, Quay, Curry and Roosevelt counties. The rest of the state remains at green—aka low—levels. Corresponding recommendations for each level can be found here.
Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via COVIDTests.gov; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453. DOH encourages residents to download the NM Notify app and to report positive COVID-19 home tests on the app.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
As anyone who has ever seen the New Mexico landscape knows, the state’s geology often has an off-planet vibe, thanks to its craggy, volcanic terrain. On the most recent episode of the Encounter Culture podcast, host and El Palacio Editor Charlotte Jusinski talks to New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science geologists Jayne Aubele and Larry Crumpler about New Mexico’s geologic history, and how it may be instructive in our quest to understand other planets.
Though the current weather conditions make it hard to envision the onset of summer, before we know it, long sun-filled days will be upon us, accompanied by _______. If you filled in the blank with margaritas, monsoons and more tourists: sure, probably. But we’re talking about the Santa Fe Opera, whose opening weekend may be months away (June 30), but starts seeding excitement tonight with the first installment of its Operalive! series. Opera lecturer Oliver Prezant will begin his preview of the season’s offerings by discussing Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. An arts educator and conductor, Prezant provides the opera’s pre-performance lectures, and has also provided talks for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Opera Southwest, Chamber Music Albuquerque and many other organizations. “Opera is a 500-year-old art form, and it really touches pretty much every aspect of human experience,” Prezant told SFR a few years back. “There are all kinds of people who come to the opera...so I’m looking to bring them into the experience as much as possible.” Tonight’s free talk and all subsequent Santa Fe talks will be at 6 pm at Collected Works Bookstore (202 Galisteo St,); seating is first-come, first-served. Subsequent dates: The Flying Dutchman on March 31; Pelléas et Mélisande on April 21; Rusalka on May 5; Orfeo on May 12.
Abiquiu, here we come
As we noted earlier this month, the real estate listing for a Santa Fe home in which Georgia O’Keeffe once resided (also Microsoft co-founder Paul G) has garnered lots of press, thanks to its famous former residents and, presumably, fancy accommodations ($15 million buys a lot of bathrooms). House Beautiful magazine takes the occasion of the real-estate listing to lean into its archives and republish a 1963 story about O’Keeffe’s OG home, aka her Abiquiu abode, written and photographed by Laura Gilpin (1891-1979), a photographer known primarily for her photographs of Native Americans (she also took numerous photographs of O’Keeffe). “Beauty of spacing and simplicity of design are the two major qualities that dominate the painting of Georgia O’Keeffe,” Gilpin’s 1963 story reads. “They are also the dominant characteristics of her house in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Indeed, her house and her painting are all of a piece, and most of her ‘decorations’ are nature objects picked up off the desert.” And speaking of Abiquiu, writer/editor Molly Boyle settles into an “Abiquiu State of Mind” for a recent must-read New Mexico Magazine story that takes the measure of a place santero and resident Charles M. Carrillo once described as a “cosmic village.”
Soak it in
The National Weather Service forecasts a 50% chance for precipitation today, with possible rain and/or snow showers after noon. Otherwise, it will be partly sunny with a high temperature near 45 degrees. The weekend looks mostly sunny and windy, with highs in the mid to low 40s. And, yes, this year’s precipitation has made a big difference, drought-wise.
Thanks for reading! The Word took a break from incredulously reading local real estate listings to incredulously read one for the house where Jane Austen lived when she wrote Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey (via Town & Country).