NM Bill: Post-Rape Abortion Is Evidence Tampering

Proposed legislation would criminalize procedure

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 24, 2013 1:19 PM CST

(Newser) – A New Mexico lawmaker introduced a bill yesterday that could criminalize abortions after rape, the Huffington Post reports. Republican state Rep. Cathrynn Brown introduced House Bill 206, which could charge a rape victim who got an abortion with "tampering with evidence"—a third-degree felony. Some fear pregnant rape victims would be required to continue their pregnancies so the fetus could be used as evidence in a trial.

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," and Brown says the goal was actually to punish rapists who coerce their victims into getting abortions to hide the criminal evidence. And it likely won't pass, the Huffington Post notes, because Democrats have a majority in both chambers of the state legislature.

State Rep.-elect Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, is shown during a candidate forum on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, in Carlsbad, NM.
State Rep.-elect Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, is shown during a candidate forum on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, in Carlsbad, NM.   (AP Photo/Tim Korte)
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