A lawmaker in New Mexico proposed a bill on Wednesday that would legally require rape victims to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the baby as evidence for a sexual assault trial. The bill would in essence make abortion illegal for victims or rape or incest.
House Bill 206 was introduced by Republican state Representative Cathrynn Brown, who suggests that a rape victim who ends her rape-caused pregnancy with abortion would receive a third-degree felony charge for “tampering with evidence.” A third-degree felony in New Mexico carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.
“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,” the bill says.
Brown said in a statement Thursday that she introduced the bill with the goal of punishing the person who commits incest or rape. She maintains that abortion destroys evidence of the crime.
“New Mexico needs to strengthen its laws to deter sex offenders,” said Brown. “By adding this law in New Mexico, we can help to protect women across our state.”
With the 40 year anniversary of Roe V Wade, and the majority of Americans agreeing with legalized abortion, the bill will most likely not be well-received.
Pat David, who works with ProgressNow New Mexico — a progressive nonprofit opposing the bill — called it “blatantly unconstitutional” on Thursday.
“The bill turns victims of rape and incest into felons and forces them to become incubators of evidence for the state,” he said. “According to Republican philosophy, victims who are ‘legitimately raped’ will now have to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case.”
Since Democrats have a majority in both chambers of New Mexico’s state legislature, the bill is highly unlikely to pass.
What do you think of forcing rape victims to use their unborn babies as evidence?