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article imageN.M. lawmaker seeks to make abortion in rape cases illegal

By Greta McClain     Jan 24, 2013 in Crime
Santa Fe - A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill in the New Mexico legislature that would criminalize abortion in rape and incest cases.
New Mexico state Representative, Cathrynn Brown (R), introduced House Bill 206 on Wednesday. The bill calls for anyone who obtains an abortion due to a pregnancy that results from the crime of incest or rape to be charged with "Tampering with Evidence". The bill would add the following language to the current "Tampering with Evidence" statute:
"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 immediately drew criticism from those worried about how it will impact sexual assault victims. ProgressNow New Mexico's Pat Davis issued a statement via the organization's website which stated:
“In addition to being blatantly unconstitutional, the bill turns victims of rape and incest, who have just been through a horrible sexual assault, 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. “
Brown states her bill is not intended to punish or criminalize victims of rape. Instead, she claims the bill is meant to deter rape and incest and the rapist would be charged, not the victim. She continued by saying:
"New Mexico needs to strengthen its laws to deter sex offenders. By adding this law in New Mexico, we can help to protect women across our state."
Brown did not address the use of the term "procuring" in her bill however. As the bill stands currently, anyone who obtains an abortion could be held criminally responsible for "Tampering with Evidence".
Democratic state party chairman, Javier Gonzales, issued a statement on the proposed bill, saying:
"This bill is wrong, and should never see the light of day in any legislature in this country, let alone New Mexico. The War on Women in America has to stop. No woman should ever be forced to carry a child for 'evidence,' plain and simple."
This is not the first controversial law involving rape in New Mexico. In September, Digital Journal reported that New Mexico Governor, Susana Martinez (R), proposed an amendment that would force women to prove they were "forcibly raped" if they seek childcare assistance.
After much public outcry from Democrats and victim's advocacy groups, Brown issued a statement on Thursday saying she intends to draw up a new draft of the bill to make the "intent of the legislation abundantly clear."
More about New mexico, Rape, Sexual assualt, Evidence, Law
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