N.M. bill makes aborting a rape pregnancy ‘tampering with evidence’

By David Ferguson
Thursday, January 24, 2013 14:39 EDT
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Rep Cathrynn Brown via NM state legislature home page
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A measure proposed by a Republican lawmaker in New Mexico would make it illegal for a woman to abort a fetus sired by a rapist on the grounds that the woman is “tampering with evidence” in the suspect’s trial. According to Huffington Post, state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R) has put forth House Bill 206, which would compel women to carry pregnancies caused by rape to term or else be charged with a third-degree felony.

“Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime,” reads the bill.

Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to three years in prison. Other crimes classified as third-degree felonies in New Mexico include voluntary manslaughter, assault with intent to commit a felony, driving under the influence and aggravated battery.

“New Mexico needs to strengthen its laws to deter sex offenders,” said Brown in a statement. “By adding this law in New Mexico, we can help to protect women across our state.”

Pat Davis, a spokesperson for ProgressNow New Mexico called the bill “blatantly unconstitutional” and told Huffington Post, “The bill turns victims of rape and incest into felons and forces them to become incubators of evidence for the state. According to Republican philosophy, victims who are ‘legitimately raped’ will now have to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case.”

Democrats hold the majority of seats in both chambers of New Mexico’s state legislature, so the bill is not likely to pass.

[image via New Mexico State Legislature home page]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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