Abortion, Politics, Rape

Lawyer’s Rape Evidence Law Should Probably Be Aborted

This is the New Mexico State flag. Maybe state legislators should do something with this instead of making things harder for rape victims.

On last week’s episode of “Republicans Say The Darndest Things,” we had a female Republican legislator out west proposing a bill that would criminalize abortions for victims of rape or incest.

But now New Mexico legislator Cathrynn Brown says that it was all a big mistake. She wanted to charge rapists who convince their victims to have abortions with tampering with evidence. Because apparently holding rapists accountable for their rapes isn’t enough?

Brown is an attorney and claims a drafting error caused all this confusion. If you believe her, that’s one hell of a typo that nine other New Mexico Republicans also missed….

As a Democrat, I’m fairly thrilled whenever Republicans open up and share their thoughts on rape and abortion. It’s their mainstream approach to these subjects that really warms my heart.

Cathrynn Brown

This weekend, Brown gave a series of interviews (gavel bang: ABA Journal). Here’s her explanation in her hometown paper, the Carlsbad Current-Argus:

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.”

Brown, a Carlsbad resident and a board member of the Carlsbad Right to Life organization, conceded her bill was poorly written. She said her intent was not to charge incest or rape victims with a felony if they terminate their pregnancy.

“I missed this one,” she said, explaining that when she reviewed the draft of her bill, she missed the language problems that led to misinterpretation of her bill.

You “missed this one”? You wrote a bill that would have made criminals of rape victims trying to move on with their lives, and all you have to say is whoops?

And what about the nine other New Mexican Republicans who “co-sponsored” this monstrosity? Did they also just misunderstand what they were reading?

Obviously, I’m not buying this “oh gosh, I didn’t at mean to criminalize victims seeking abortion” backtracking. I think Brown knew exactly what she was doing:

An attorney, Brown said her practice is to edit a bill carefully before releasing it. This time, a drafting error occurred and she was not diligent enough so it got through, she said

“I started getting real nasty phone calls from people around the country. Some national publications and TV stations published stories that I was against the victim. That’s far from the truth. I want to protect the victim,” Brown said.

Even if you take her word for it, how in the heck would it work to charge the rapist with tampering with evidence if their victims get abortions? Are there a whole lot of rapists who are still in contact with their victims intimately enough to influence their abortion decisions?

You don’t need a law degree to see that all Brown is trying to do is make it harder for victims of rape or incest to get an abortion. Having one just helps you cut through all her BS.

But, just to be safe, can we have a lawyer look through all the things getting pushed through the New Mexico legislature? It’d be weird to wake up one day and see that New Mexico accidentally revoked the right to privacy or something.

Carlsbad’s Cathrynn Brown under fire for bill on abortion by rape victims [Carlsbad Current-Argus]
Lawyer-lawmaker blames poor writing for bill that would criminalize abortions by rape victims [ABA Journal]

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