Proposed legislation in New Mexico would imprison rape victims if they get an abortion

From the “we can’t make this shit up” files comes a new scary piece of proposed legislation from New Mexico State Rep. Cathrynn Brown. If passed, HB 206, would force women who were enduring rape trials to carry their pregnancies to term. The justification? An abortion would be “tampering with evidence.”

As Think Progress notes, reporting a rape is hard enough, let alone actually getting to the point where you go to trail–as though that process isn’t trying enough–the trial itself is often a grueling experience. This merely adds insult to injury, an unfortunate marriage of two conservative views on women’s bodies and sexuality a) they deserve to be raped and b) it’s a woman’s obligation to give birth no matter what the circumstances. Also, it’s hypocritical–make up your mind, is a fetus a person or not?!

In addition to burdening victims of sexual assault, Brown’s bill also reveals some hypocrisy in the anti-abortion community. While anti-choice advocates maintain that a fetus should be afforded the full rights of personhood, charging abortion as “tampering with evidence” effectively turns the fetus into an object. This isn’t the first time so-called pro-life supporters have dropped the fetal personhood crusade when it was convenient — last year, a Catholic hospital in Colorado reversed its stance on fetal personhood in a malpractice suit, arguing in court that the term “person” should only apply to individuals who have already been born.

Are the GOP not learning anything? They need to just stop talking about and legislating rape. End of story.


Join the Conversation

  • Spencer Koelle

    Dionysus and Ostara help us. This is morally repugnant and deeply horrifying.

  • AK

    To give the full story, Brown did later clarify (although I personally think “backpedal” might be more accurate) that the intent of the bill was to punish rapists who impregnate their victim and then force her to get an abortion against her will. Of course this doesn’t really help much, as she is either dangerously incompetent and probably shouldn’t be in office if she’s writing such murky and unclear bills, or (more likely, given her politics–among other things, she served on the board of Right to Life of Carlsbad) she thought she could get away with limiting access to abortion in cases of rape and is only horrified that people noticed.

  • David Pain

    Only fair to note that, according to Wikipedia, Dems have a majority in each house of the NM lege. So nothing’s getting enacted unless it’s strictly a bipartisan affair. I’m sure that instills a lot of confidence…