Extremely Misguided New Mexico Bill Would Now Prosecute Abortion Providers Instead of Rape Survivors

Illustration for article titled Extremely Misguided New Mexico Bill Would Now Prosecute Abortion Providers Instead of Rape Survivors

New Mexico Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R) introduced a horrifying bill last week that would turn rape victims who get abortions into felons for "tampering with evidence."

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Now (after lots of outrage) she's clarified: House Bill 206 isn't meant to target victims of sexual assault but to discourage rapists. She's revised the language so it's clear that abortion providers would be penalized, not rape survivors.

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Nope, sorry, that's obviously still fucked up. "The bill still makes it a crime to ‘facilitate' an abortion for a woman who wants one," Scott Forrester, the director of the the Democratic Party of New Mexico, explained in a statement. "That means doctors, nurses, or anyone else who works at a health care clinic where this is one of the services provided would still be guilty of a felony."

Because the real goal here isn't to discourage rapists (who, hello, could just use condoms, to point out just one reason why this bill is idiotic; let's work harder on criminalizing all rape instead of going this bizarre and convoluted route) but to limit access to abortion. New Mexico already makes it difficult for women to get abortions by allowing certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals, attempting to restrict young women's access to abortion services by mandating parental consent, and prohibiting certain qualified professionals from providing abortion care. This bill would make it even harder. And, somehow, we doubt rapists would suddenly become any more concerned with impregnating women than they were before.

[Think Progress]

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DISCUSSION

VioletBaudelaire
Violet Baudelaire

Would the point of this be to be able to prove that so and so was the father of the child, and thus guilty of the rape? Because

1) Couldn't you do this with the aborted fetal tissue anyway if you're doing some type of DNA testing?

2) This seems like it would not having any bearing in the large amount of cases where the defense argument isn't, "I didn't touch her" but rather "She wanted it, so it wasn't rape". Many times the defendant isn't contesting the sexual act, but rather than permission of it.