A bill introduced yesterday to the state’s legislature would make it illegal for a woman impregnated by rape or incest to abort, Huffington Post first reported.
The charge she’d face? Evidence tampering.
Introduced by Rep. Cathyrnn Brown (R-Carlsbad), H.206 calls for charges of third-degree felony to be filed in such circumstances.
While endorsed by the National Right to Life organization in her last election, Brown states her bill is not geared against abortion, however.
In a formal statement issued this morning, Brown said its goal is “to deter sex offenders” on basis that women might be pressured by their rapists to abort in order to destroy evidence.
“By adding this law in New Mexico, we can help to protect women across our state.”
However very strong evidence of rape, ranging from DNA to clothing fibers, can be collected directly from the victim with use of sexual assault forensic evidence materials (or “rape kit”), and immediately after such incidence. Women are not required to submit to police for such testing, and no offspring is required to prove an individual committed rape.
Brown quickly received sharp criticism.
Pat Davis, director of ProgressNow New Mexico, today told the Albuquerque Journal “The bill turns victims of rape and incest into victims, and forces them to be incubators of evidence for the state.”
New Mexico reported 857 cases of forcible rape in 2011. Its risk rate of 41.2 incidents of rape per 100,000 citizens ranks fifth highest in the United States.
A three-year medical study found that approximately five percent of rape victims are impregnated; only 30 percent of women who become pregnant by rape decide to carry the fetus through term.
Ultra-conservative organizations argue against abortion in cases of rape impregnation, claiming that the procedure would result in two persons being violated.
With Democrats holding a slight majority in New Mexico’s state house (37 of 70 members), Brown’s bill is unlikely to pass, if even voted on.
“The bill is wrong and should never see the light of day in any legislature in this country, let alone New Mexico,” said Javier Gonzales, chair of the state’s Democratic Party.
First elected to represent Dist. 55 in 2010, Brown’s issued two other bills this year; H.103 calls for strict voter ID requirements, and H.163 allows public utility companies first rights of refusal.
She’s a member of the house Judicial and Agriculture/Water Resources commissions.