New Mexico Legislator Introduces Bill To Make It A Crime of “Destroying Evidence” For A Rape Victim To Get An Abortion

HBROWNew Mexico Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R) has introduced House Bill 206, a bill that would make it a crime a rape victim to get an abortion as destruction of evidence of a crime. Brown is a lawyer and a member of the judiciary committee. She is also an ardent pro-life legislator who has made eliminating abortion (and “debunking” global warming) a mission. and, after a national outcry, says that the bill was poorly drafted will be changed to address the public concerns.

The bill below states “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.” As a third-degree felony, a rape victim could be subject to three years in jail. Fortunately, it also happens to be facially unconstitutional.

After her introduction of the bill making a fetus “evidence” of a rape, Brown found herself the subject of national outcry. She eventually issued a statements claiming that the bill was poorly drafted and that her intent was not to criminally charge rape victims. That is a bit hard to understand given the shortness and clarity of the bill. It is hard to miss that “procuring or facilitating an abortion” would include rape victims, particularly for a lawyer. It is also hard to see how anyone with a JD would not see this bill as blatantly unconstitutional but Brown got various colleagues to co-sponsor the bill.

Brown now blames “a drafting error” and says that she will amend the law “to make the intent of the legislation abundantly clear.” Yet, she says that criminalizing such abortions is “solely to deter rape and cases of incest. The rapist — not the victim — would be charged with tampering of evidence.” Many pro-life advocates have long objected to exceptions for rape and incest in allowing abortions.

It is not clear why this bill is needed since the individual is subject to the higher penalty of rape and such rape would still have to be proven to establish an effort to compel or coerce a rape victims into having an abortion. There are an array of other laws that can also be used in such a circumstances based on the threats or coercion against a victim. That makes the intent of the law even more suspect.

In the end, Brown appears content to say that she is merely a legal illiterate rather than a legal extremist. A curious defense for a lawyer and a judiciary committee member.

Here is the statute: HB0206

Source: ABC

48 thoughts on “New Mexico Legislator Introduces Bill To Make It A Crime of “Destroying Evidence” For A Rape Victim To Get An Abortion”

  1. Bron:
    I think Larry King is more of a personal therapist kind of interviewer in the style of an Oprah, or that genre. Anderson Cooper is not the bulldog that somebody like Mike Wallace was, but he is more aggressive than King and is not afraid to ask hard questions. I plan to watch. I doubt we will see a bloodied nose, but it should still be interesting.


    “We must not confuse potentiality with actuality. An embryo is a potential human being. It can, granted the woman’s choice, develop into an infant. But what it actually is during the first trimester is a mass of relatively undifferentiated cells that exist as a part of a woman’s body. If we consider what it is rather than what it might become, we must acknowledge that the embryo under three months is something far more primitive than a frog or a fish. To compare it to an infant is ludicrous.

    If we are to accept the equation of the potential with the actual and call the embryo an “unborn child,” we could, with equal logic, call any adult an “undead corpse” and bury him alive or vivisect him for the instruction of medical students.

    That tiny growth, that mass of protoplasm, exists as a part of a woman’s body. It is not an independently existing, biologically formed organism, let alone a person. That which lives within the body of another can claim no right against its host. Rights belong only to individuals, not to collectives or to parts of an individual. (“Independent” does not mean self-supporting — a child who depends on its parents for food, shelter, and clothing, has rights because it is an actual, separate human being.)

    “Rights,” in Ayn Rand’s words, “do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born.”

    It is only on this base that we can support the woman’s political right to do what she chooses in this issue. No other person — not even her husband — has the right to dictate what she may do with her own body. That is a fundamental principle of freedom.”

  3. OS:

    that should be a good show. I am not sure why she would agree to go on 360. Anderson isnt a mental giant in the tradition of Larry King but this should make for some good TV.

  4. Blouise, Yep, She was elected in 2010. That was the year where the turnout was low as you know. Much destruction was done. I hope I never hear that stay home bs again.

  5. I just this minute heard she is going to be a guest on the Anderson Cooper show tonight. I’ll get the popcorn.

  6. If I understand the error correctly it wold be when the rapist forces his victim to have an aboriton that the evidence tampering would occur.

  7. She must be removed from the judiciary committee immediately. She has no seniority so it should be fairly easy to do.

    Isn’t she one of those first term teabaggers?

  8. Mike Appleton
    1, January 25, 2013 at 10:11 am
    I love New Mexico and its people. However, it has acquired its share of right-wing ideologues. What I find particularly disturbing, however, is the increasing tendency of state legislatures across the country to propose blatantly unconstitutional laws. It is a virtual epidemic.
    and on the post regarding the Inigo T-shirt someone wrote that people are currently in the throes of irrational fear….. THIS sort of legislative behaviour does NOTHING to inspire confidence in our governance….

  9. This representative is a fool to think anyone is buying her claim of this being a drafting error.

    As for a prosecution basis on evidence of rapes. A DNA test could be done on evidence collected during a sexual assault exam or could even (though I haven’t seee it done) be done on the tissue of the aborted fetus.

    If the entire purpose of forcing the victim to carry to baby to term is unnecessary. During the abortion procudure it would be evident the woman had become pregnant and when and the DNA test could decide who impregnated her. And, I am talking in strictly practical terms for collection of evidence without even getting into the clearly unconstitutional issue with the abortion itself.

    This is also equivalent to telling a person who’s car has been vandalized that they cannot repair it after the police investigation because it would constitute destruction of evidence.

  10. Swarthmore,
    do you think a President Romney would sign a bill like this if it was done on the national level??

  11. So, Republicans go from “a rape and incest exception” meaning NO abortions except in cases of rape or incest to ALL abortions except in cases of rape or incest. Whoever thought of that idea, brilliant!!

  12. “the EVIDENCE of rape is a the rape trauma exam which obtains DNA of the rapist and physical evidence of forcible rape”


    Has it right and so this proposal was a blatant attempt to find away around Roe v. Wade. It is an example of a tendency in us humans to concoct an idea that at first blush seems “brilliant” and put it forth without further examination of its premises. My guess is that when she first proposed it, she did it with a kind of “gotcha” exhilaration, thinking she had foreclosed one abortion option.
    As the negative reactions poured in she was forced to backtrack and perhaps even see that her “brilliance” was fatally flawed. The upside for her is that in the minds of her anti-abortion followers she’s solidified her anti-abortion credentials. You just can’t make this stuff up.

  13. As a lawyer who has tried many rape cases the EVIDENCE of rape is a the rape trauma exam which obtains DNA of the rapist and physical evidence of forcible rape/ This ignorant woman does not seem to know that the actual fetus proves nothing other than the identity of the father.

  14. nick, Not texas,….The valley is the most liberal part of the state. El Paso elects liberal reps, too. That lady would never be elected in South Texas. She looks like a lady that would be elected around Amarillo.

  15. Mike Appleton, I’ve found w/ the border states of Texas, NM, AZ and to a lesser degree Ca. it gets more conservative the closer you get to the border. This is a generality, but the liberal areas in those states are further north.

  16. After Tiller: 40 Years Since Roe v. Wade, Abortion Providers Continue Work of Slain Kansas Doctor

    Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion, the new documentary “After Tiller” follows the only four doctors left in the United States who are known to provide abortions in the third trimester. In 2009, their colleague, Dr. George Tiller, was assassinated while attending church in Wichita, Kansas. The four doctors depicted in the film have also braved threats, harassment and the emotional weight of the stories they hear to provide women with a desperately needed medical procedure. We’re joined by the directors of “After Tiller,” Lana Wilson and Martha Shane.


    Martha Shane, co-director of After Tiller, a documentary that premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

    Lana Wilson, co-director of After Tiller, a documentary that premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

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