Over the years, Diane Derzis has spent a great deal of time in court fighting against pro-life laws. But when Roe v. Wade was overturned last month by the U.S. Supreme Court, Derzis shut down her Mississippi abortion clinic and announced a move to Las Cruces, New Mexico – a state where abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy.
Mark Cavaliere, CEO of the Southwest Coalition for Life, tells AFN the local community does not appreciate the focus – or the stigma – Derzis is bringing to the home of New Mexico State University.
"Las Crucens are very frustrated because our political situation has been dictated by Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the two big cities in the state that kind of control the political scene," he explains. "But the rest of the state says we don't want the stigma."
According to Cavaliere, Derzis and her crew will be greeted by a pro-life scene every day when they open their new abortuary – which reportedly has been dubbed "Pink House West."
"We looked around the area and there happened to be a building right next door available for lease," he says. "So, we jumped on that very quickly and we were able to secure the lease. We still have a lot of work to do to get it opened and we want to make sure we're doing it right."
Cavaliere's organization made that announcement Tuesday evening as several hundred pro-life activists gathered next to the planned site of the abortion clinic. "If ever there was a place to respond to a challenge like we're facing, it's the City of the Crosses," he told the rally attendees, referencing the Spanish name of the city. "We've seen what God can do."
The pro-life group's website highlights its role in the closure of three abortion clinics in the Las Cruces-El Paso area since 2017.
Asked by The Associated Press if she was bothered by Tuesday's gathering, Derzis replied she has seen protests for years at other abortion clinics she has owned in Mississippi and elsewhere, adding: "It's not a big deal. That's life at an abortion clinic."
Southwest Coalition for Life is working with the Guiding Star Project in setting up a full-service pro-life pregnancy center which will help meet the medical needs of women as they carry their pregnancy to term.
According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Pink House West will be the only clinic outside the Albuquerque area that will offer medical abortions in the state.
Editor's note: Las Cruces is in Doña Ana County. Commissioners in neighboring Otero County last week unanimously approved a resolution declaring their county a "sanctuary for life."