New Mexico Bill Could Turn Pregnancy By Rape Into Evidence And Abortions Into Felonies


State Rep. Cathrynn Brown from New Mexico introduced legislation on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 known as House Bill 206, which would legally require rape victims to carry their pregnancies to term for the purpose of using the baby as evidence during the sexual assault trial. It would be made illegal to terminate a pregnancy based on the grounds of “tampering with evidence”—which would hold the victim and her doctor legally liable.

The punishment for such an act, which would be a third-degree felony, could go as high as three years in prison in New Mexico. And depending on the political IQ of the court system, the scenario could be set up where the victim gets more time than the rapist for destroying or “tampering with evidence.”

As the bill reads:

“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.”

What is it with this rape/abortion/vagina/anti-women obsession that Republicans just can’t seem to let go of? It’s clear that the Republican Party has allowed itself to become handcuffed to the image of old, angry, ultra-conservative white men, with a few submissive women following meekly behind, but it is unclear why a political group as savvy as the GOP continues to play chicken with highly flammable issues like rape, abortion, a woman’s health and, in some cases, her very life—issues that have torched them consistently.

When are these conservatives ever going to give up on their Camelot dreams of the good old days of the Donna Reed society, where the kitchen and the bedroom were the best and only career choices for women, and the only job that they were expected to hold or perform was getting down on their knees in front of their husbands to relieve his stress after his hard day of work?

Didn’t conservatives learn anything from the Todd Akin debacle? It’s almost the definition of political insanity. The idea of a woman and her doctor being charged with “tampering with evidence” if a rape-induced pregnancy is not carried to term is about as illogical as it gets.

Is the judge supposed to ask the victim’s lawyer to present the baby as state’s evidence? And what is the baby supposed to do—testify to the court as an eyewitness about how it was violently rammed into conception to prove that it was a “forcible rape?”

Also, a baby’s DNA is not needed to prove that a rape occurred, though some have speculated that proving the rapist is the father of the child could be a key piece of evidence. Well, here is a newsflash. You don’t have to prove that Joe Six-pack is the father. You just have to prove that he is the rapist, and the DNA from him is the real key, not some morbid paternity test.

Now, if the victim is unable to produce the baby of the raped pregnancy, is that supposed to somehow level out the crime from an ethical standpoint, where the rapist then looks like less of a predatory animal while the victim begins to look less victimized from a rape that is now repackaged as not as forcible as previously thought?

In the end, the bill is unlikely to pass, because the Democrats hold a majority in both houses of the New Mexico state legislature. But in a world where the hip, smart thing to say is that Democrats and Republicans are the same, how many times are we going to have to say that some screwball, harebrained idea put forth by the Republicans is not going to pass because the Democrats will be there to stop it?