NM Legislator Tries to Ban Abortion to ‘Preserve Evidence’

I should probably have reached the point where I can’t be shocked anymore by what any Republican politician does by now, but I apparently haven’t. You’d think the GOP would be staying a million miles away from any issue to do with abortion and rape, but one New Mexico legislator has submitted an appalling bill:

A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial.

House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.”

“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,” the bill says.

Third-degree felonies in New Mexico carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Yeah, if only there were some way to carry out DNA testing without actually forcing a woman to deliver a baby that results from rape. Oh wait, there is. And this was submitted by a woman, for fuck’s sake.

18 comments on this post.
  1. slc1:

    The scientific illiteracy of clowns like Ms. Brown never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Mr. Upright:

    Are they going to classify removing bullets the same way?

  3. Michael Heath:

    Ed reports:

    You’d think the GOP would be staying a million miles away from any issue to do with abortion and rape

    I think this is actually politically pragmatic on the GOP’s part, as morally repugnant as I find it. Their conservative Christian base is very animated by misogynistic policies where that base’s loyalty lies with policies which pander to their sentiments (like most any group). However in a general election such policies harm GOP odds of winning when it comes to less zealous voters that they need to win.

    The pattern I’ve seen newly emerging is three-fold:
    1) Seek to pass bills at the start of congressional sessions – the second furthest distance in time from a general election. This has now mutated to some degree to lame-duck sessions given that period of time is even earlier. These efforts provides them with an investment of political capital for the next general, even if such bills stall-out in Committee or don’t get passed.

    2) Don’t legislate policies during the election season, the mainstream media will hammer them for it in a way that will lose them up-for-grab votes.

    3) During the election season, they will market their culture war efforts done way back in the lame-duck or early-congressional session, but only in those media ventures which target their white conservative Christian base, e.g., Fox News, AM talk radio, etc. Use a lot of robo calls and viral emails on culture issues to motivate base turn-out, especially important since that base will be frustrated with how their Republican politicians avoid culture war issues in the election season. E.g., even Santorum tried to avoid such rhetoric in mainstream forums, like his Meet the Press interview where he tried to avoid his opposition to gay marriage, falsely claiming he wanted to discuss liberty issues instead.

    I think the pattern above is more reflective of presidential election seasons given that’s when we observe more non-zealots voting. But I think it will increasingly apply in off-election years as well.

  4. eric:

    Its so ridiculous, this has to be a(nother) bill submitted solely to make the submitter look good to their constituency.

  5. Neil Rickert:

    If the rape case is delayed 9 months or more going to trial, would a natural live birth also be construed as destroying evidence?

  6. Anneliese:

    She has since added a bit about not charging the rape victim according to the New Mexico Telegram. It looks like doctors could still be charged, though.

  7. Sastra:

    The so-called Pro-lifers like to try to use what they see as values liberals hold ‘sacred’ as vehicles for ramming through their legislation as a sort of “hoist-by-their-own-petard” move. Thus you see them coming out with lame arguments like “abortion is anti-feminist” or “the person who could have cured AIDs was probably aborted” and other “take THAT, liberals!” shenanigans.

    So I can’t help but wonder if this incredibly bizarre idea is not just a desperate attempt to find a route, any route, to prevent abortions but another one of their ideas on how to co-opt liberal sacred cows to fool people into thinking being against abortion is the position of a moderate. What’s the ‘sacred cow?’ Liberals are soft on crime and want to make sure criminals get their “rights.” So hey, if you have an abortion some rapist won’t get his fair trial! You destroy evidence. Take THAT, liberals!

    I don’t know. I’m groping, I know, but so do they. Could this be part of the reasoning behind this bill?

  8. baal:

    I take bizarre cases like this one as a sign that the pro-life (anti-choice) contingent has all but won legislative victory on the main policy points. They are more or less out of reasonable ideas (at least debatable ones) so they need to go to the crazy bin. They also look like they have been in the crazy bin long enough to think it’s normal so they are now going for the stuff that’s stuck between the boards.

  9. machintelligence:

    To give it the most generous interpretation, this was a bill drafted without an eye towards unintended consequences.That being said, it is a good thing that it has provoked such outrage, since if it passed as written some fundie prosecutor would surely have enforced it as written.

    Brown said in a statement Thursday that she introduced the bill with the goal of punishing the person who commits incest or rape and then procures or facilitates an abortion to destroy the evidence of the crime.

    It still may need some fixing to do what it was intended to do.

  10. Raging Bee:

    Brown said in a statement Thursday that she introduced the bill with the goal of punishing the person who commits incest or rape and then procures or facilitates an abortion to destroy the evidence of the crime.

    Yeah, because rapists always come back to their victims to try to get them to abort any babies they might have created.

    There’s an extra layer of bogosity to this policy: how would a fetus be considered evidence of rape? Would it stop even one MRA from saying “you can’t prove it wasn’t consensual?”

  11. Raging Bee:

    …this was a bill drafted without an eye towards unintended consequences.

    …such as decent people reading what they wrote.

  12. machintelligence:

    punishing the person who commits incest

    With incest, the perpetrators are going to be family members and genetic information would be lost if the aborted fetus were to be destroyed.

    Lumping incestuous rape in with other rapes made it confusing and ambiguous. It is best not to impute malice where stupidity will suffice.

  13. jnorris:

    If the state law forces the woman to carry the fetus to term, does the state pay all medical and hospital bills, loss of wages, etc?

    Can the woman have a C-section at say 7 months and let the state pay the all premature baby’s hospital & medical bills?

  14. nooneinparticular:

    Raging Bee wrote “Yeah, because rapists always come back to their victims to try to get them to abort any babies they might have created.”

    It does happen. In cases of incest it has happened that the rapist forces their relative, sometimes a minor, to have an abortion. Although this idiot legislator insists it is this kind of rape that her bill is intended to address, we all know what she was really after.

  15. d.c.wilson:

    Here’s what I think is going on:

    The bill’s stated purpose is ridiculous. Whether the fetus is aborted or brought to term, DNA samples can be collected to establish paternity, so that’s clearly a red herring.

    While Ginsburg is the most likely justice to retire this term, there’s always an off chance Scalia will have a heart attack or Thomas will get hit by a bus. The fetus worshipers see a limited window of opportunity here to get a case about abortion in front of the Supreme Court. They figure there are four justices ready and willing to overturn Roe and one more conservative who might be persuaded. So, the goal here is to provoke a court challenge by passing a bill that so obviously blows up the undue burden test that it will have to be challenged.

    They’re ready to role the dice for the first time since the Casy decision.

  16. KathyO:

    Presumably, Brown is expecting the baby to ID the rapist.

  17. Stacy:

    @Sastra

    The so-called Pro-lifers like to try to use what they see as values liberals hold ‘sacred’ as vehicles for ramming through their legislation as a sort of “hoist-by-their-own-petard” move….What’s the ‘sacred cow?’ Liberals are soft on crime and want to make sure criminals get their “rights.” So hey, if you have an abortion some rapist won’t get his fair trial!

    I had a similar thought, but my hypothesis about the “sacred cow” was the opposite of yours. Liberals, especially feminists, know how rare convictions are for rape. So the message they’re aiming for may be: hey lady, if you have an abortion that rapist won’t get convicted.

  18. jayarrrr:

    Seems to me that a pickle jar full of formaldehyde would “preserve the evidence” just fine, placenta and all… The evidence doesn’t have to be in situ to establish it’s existence, right? And furthermore, the crime is rape, the rape kit collected at the ER should be more than enough “evidence”.

    What happens in the case of a rape that didn’t result in a pregnancy? No Pweshush Bay-Bee, so it didn’t happen?

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