New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions for Rape Victims as “Evidence Tampering”

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A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico has introduced a bill that would criminalize abortions after rape as “tampering with evidence.”

House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), 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.

This means that if a rape victim chose to end her pregnancy, she would 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,” the bill reads.

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

What could possibly be the rationale behind legislation like this?

In a statement released today, Brown says 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.

“Apparently, Ms. Brown is under the impression that rapists stick around to assist their victims with the difficult and horrifying aftermath of the crime,” reads an article on Forbes.

Not surprisingly, many have voiced their opposition to the proposed policy.

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

The bill is unlikely to pass, as Democrats have a majority in both chambers of New Mexico’s state legislature.

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