How can we better protect women who are victims of rape and sexual violence?
New Mexico's Cathrynn Brown seems to think criminalizing abortions for rape and incest victims is the way to go.
The Republican state representative introduced House Bill 206 on Wednesday (January 23), which could see a woman who procures an abortion under the above circumstances charged with a third-degree felony.
The text reads as follows:
"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."
Let me repeat that: under certain circumstances, a woman who has an abortion would be considered to be tampering with evidence, a crime that carries a penalty of up to three years in a state prison.
This leaves me with so many angry thoughts.
Like, can't you extract DNA evidence from fetal tissue just as readily as from a full-term baby?
And, how horrible would it be for a child to learn that he or she wasn't wanted but simply evidence of a brutal crime perpetuated his or her mother?
In a statement issued today (January 24), Brown claims that she introduced the bill "to protect women across our state.” (Tellingly, the word woman doesn't even appear in the amendment.)
“New Mexico needs to strengthen its laws to deter sex offenders,” said Brown.
Oh, now I get it. Of course criminalizing a woman's access to abortion along with the doctors who provide said abortions will prevent men from raping women! It was so obvious all along!
Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, said of the proposed legislation: "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."
Apropos of nothing: According to Cathrynn Brown's website, she's endorsed by the National Rifle Association.