Update, 2:06 p.m.: It appears that Brown has figured out that no one really liked her bill and that her bill, as it was stated, was rather unclear. The state representative apparently is submitting a substitute bill, the New Mexico Telegram reports. Brown said:
House Bill 206 was never intended to punish or criminalize rape victims ... Its intent is solely to deter rape and cases of incest. The rapist—not the victim—would be charged with tampering of evidence. I am submitting a substitute draft to make the intent of the legislation abundantly clear.
So, what (we think) Brown, a pro-life Republican, means is that she's trying to punish rapists who try and cover their tracks by getting their victims to have abortions. Which is a lot different than the bill she first introduced, which stated that any person "procuring" an abortion should be punished for "tampering."
Original Post: If you thought the so-called "rape caucus" was fading away, there's new evidence — and we mean evidence — that some Republicans are still going to make a lot of people upset with what they see as legitimate concerns about rape. New Mexico State Rep. Cathrynn Brown has now introduced a bill that, if she has her way, ultimately could see rape victims charged with felony and three years in prison if they fail to carry their pregnancies to term.
Brown's argument is that fetuses are evidence of sexual assault, and "tampering with evidence" is a third-degree felony. Here's a key part of the actual bill, in case this stuff still seems unbelievable to you:
So, essentially, Brown's bill argues that a rape victim could possibly be aiding her assaulter's case in court by getting an abortion. And going by that logic, a rape victim could actually be something of an accomplice in her own rape if she aborts the fetus. What's more, apparently Brown thinks that even convincing a rape victim into getting an abortion can be punishable by law:
"Criminal sexual penetration" might have to go into the books as one of the most flattering names rape has ever gone by. As the Huffington Post's Laura Bassett reports, a third-degree felony in the state of New Mexico carries a sentence of up to three years. "The bill is unlikely to pass, as Democrats have a majority in both chambers of New Mexico's state legislature," reports Bassett.
That may come as a relief to anyone who was getting tired of "legitimate rape" making its way back into headlines, even as national Republican figures cast off the Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks of the world — Bobby Jindal today said as much: "It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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