Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

New Mexico Sen. Joseph Cervantes. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

A New Mexico lawmaker denied Communion by a bishop over his vote to advance abortion protections told Axios exclusively he won't be bullied and looks forward to receiving Communion with President Biden one day.

Why it matters: The example set by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, a Democrat, is drawing the attention of lawmakers around the country. Blue states are moving to protect abortion rights should the Supreme Court overturn or erode Roe v. Wade.

  • "I won't have any problem finding to place to receive Communion," Cervantes said during an interview. "In fact, I look forward one day to receiving Communion at the same parish where President Biden does."
  • He said other parishes and another diocese in New Mexico have offered to give him Communion, highlighting the split among U.S. Catholic bishops over elected officials and abortion.

Driving the news: Cervantes, a chair of a key state legislative committee, tweeted this week that he was denied Communion by Las Cruces, N.M., Bishop Peter Baldacchino while attending service at a monastery.

  • "My new parish priest has indicated he will do the same. ...Please pray for church authorities as Catholicism transitions under Pope Francis," the devout Roman Catholic wrote.
  • The Las Cruces Diocese confirmed Cervantes was denied Communion after the lawmaker didn't respond to pleas from Baldacchino and St. Albert the Great Newman Center pastor Kevin Waymel to stall an abortion bill earlier this year.
  • "In a personal letter to Senator Cervantes, his pastor advised him that a vote in favor of this particular Senate bill would constitute a grave moral evil and that he should not present himself for Communion," the diocese said in a statement.

Cervantes voted in February to move a bill out of his committee that would protect abortion rights in New Mexico should Roe be overturned.

  • The conservative Democrat then voted for the proposal when it went before the full New Mexico Senate. It was later signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another Democrat.

The intrigue: Washington, D.C., and 13 states expanded abortion access with 30 laws between 2017 and 2021, an Axios review has found.

  • At the same time, legislatures in 35 states have enacted more than 200 laws from 2017 to 2020 that restrict access to abortion services, according to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Between the lines: Refusing to serve Communion signals that some U.S. bishops and parish priests remain defiant despite Vatican warnings and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' official stance.

  • The conference quietly clarified last month there will be "no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians," following threats that Catholic public figures — like President Biden — should be denied Communion.
  • The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the state's most populous diocese, said it's not banning elected officials from receiving Communion — highlighting the divisions among U.S. bishops, even in New Mexico.

Yes, but: In June, the conference voted 168-55 to draft a document some hoped would prevent the president and other Catholic politicians from receiving Communion if they advocate for abortion rights.

What they're saying: "The New Mexico case shows that conservative U.S. bishops have been emboldened by the conference's vote and we might see more cases like this," said Andrew Chesnut, the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan chairman in Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.

  • Yet, those moves will be seen as myopic since the same U.S. bishops aren't denying Communion to politicians who support capital punishment or oppose anti-poverty initiatives and immigration reform — also important Catholic Church issues, Chesnut said.

Go deeper

DOJ seeks emergency order to temporarily block Texas abortion law

Pro-Abortion rights protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 1 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Department of Justice submitted an emergency motion late Tuesday seeking a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction on Texas' ban on abortions after six weeks.

Why it matters: The action marks an escalation by the Biden administration in its challenge on the constitutionality of the GOP-led state's restrictive new law, after the DOJ filed a lawsuit last week following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, in a 5-4 vote, to allow the ban to remain in place.

Judge agrees to consider temporarily blocking Texas abortion ban

Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

A federal judge will hold a hearing on Oct. 1 to consider temporarily blocking enforcement of Texas' restrictive abortion ban after an emergency request from the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The hearing comes after the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit last week against Texas over the new law, which bans nearly all abortions and awards at least $10,000 to anyone who successfully sues a person that helps a pregnant person access an abortion after six weeks.

Trump voices support for Saturday's pro-Capitol riots rally

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Thursday expressed solidarity with people facing prosecution in connection to the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The statement was issued ahead of Saturday's rally to protest the treatment of Capitol rioters. Over 600 known federal defendants face charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.