Categorized | National, Politics

GOP Rape Bill Sparks Outrage

 

Proposed New Mexico Law Would Now Prosecute Abortion Providers Instead of Rape Victims

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Santa Fe, New MexicoA Republican state lawmaker in
New Mexico proposed a law last week that would send a
woman to prison for three years on a felony if she had an
abortion after being raped– for “tampering with evidence.”

State Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, introduced H.B. 206. It states:

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 physician and health care professionals who perform the abortion could be charged criminally as well with a felony.

Cathrynn BrownBrown says it’s all a misunderstanding.  She said her intent was not to go after rape and incest victims, but to prosecute rapists and incest perpetrators who coerce women into having abortions.  She said the mistake occurred during the drafting of the bill, and she’s working on a substitute to make it clear the proposal wouldn’t apply to the victims.

Brown is a Carlsbad lawyer serving her second term in the New Mexico House since 2010.  She’s a past GOP chairwoman and has been on the board of Right to Life of Carlsbad, an outspoken
anti-abortion group.

 

Controversy and Outcry

Nine New Mexico House Republicans, all women, signed on as co-sponsors.  The bill quickly caught the eye of ABC News, The Huffington Post, Slate, Courthouse News, and Salon.com.

too farNew Mexico’s state Democratic Party, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and House Democrats all blasted the bill.

The first to publicize Brown’s bill was the liberal PAC Progress Now New Mexico.  “In addition to being blatantly unconstitutional, the bill turns victims of rape and incest into felons and forces them to become incubators of evidence for the state,” said Pat Davis, the group’s executive director.

Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales called the legislation “atrocious” and demanded, “The war on women in America has to stop. No woman should ever be forced to carry a child for evidence, plain and simple.”

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, moved to distance herself from HB 206.  Responding to a request for a comment, her spokesperson said Martinez, as a career prosecutor, “would never support a bill that re-victimized rape survivors.”

On the national level, Democrats have decried a GOP “war on women” and cited outlandish statements about rape by Republican candidates to bolster that claim.  Some Republicans have said that such missteps by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin and Indiana Senate contender Richard Mourdock cost the party U.S. Senate seats in those states.

 

Revising a Poorly Written Bill

new mexicoIn an interview last Thursday, Brown explained her intention, saying, “I’ve been talking to my constituents in Carlsbad and with law enforcement people, and they say we’re not doing enough to protect women and children.”

Her intent, she said, is to “go after perpetrators of incest and criminal sexual penetration who cover up their crime by forcing girls and women to get abortions.”  Prosecuting rape or incest victims was never the goal of the bill, Brown stressed, adding, “It’s the guy who does the sex crime.”

Brown revised her original bill Friday to specify that victims can’t be charged.

Brown posted the new version of the bill on her personal website.  In the new version of her bill, she added a sentence saying “In no circumstance shall the mother of the fetus be charged under this subsection.”  The original version of the bill, however, is still posted on the Legislature’s website.

The executive director of the state Democratic Party said Friday that the ‘new’ Brown bill still has problems.

“The bill still makes it a crime to ‘facilitate’ an abortion for a woman who wants one …,” said Scott Forrester in a news release.  “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.”

In another twist, Brown on Friday explained to a news reporter how the poorly written bill came about.  She had asked a bill drafter with the Legislative Council Service whether she should include a sentence about not charging the mother.  But, she said, the drafter told her that it wouldn’t be necessary– and prosecutors would understand that.

Brown has said part of the problem was that the original drafter quit his job before finishing the bill, so it went to another drafter.

peppersAsked about what had happened with drafting Brown’s bill and for permission to look at the file, John Yaeger of the Legislative Council Service said, “… we’re prohibited by law from disclosing the nature or contents of any request from a legislator, which includes any conversations, communications and the file.”

Critics of the proposed bill are questioning whether Cathrynn Brown and the New Mexico Legislature are going too far, overreaching for evidence from rape victims that would normally be obtained in other ways while
criminalizing
abortion health care providers.

* * * * * * * *

4 Responses to “GOP Rape Bill Sparks Outrage”

  1. lawyer salary says:

    Fantastic article. Continue the good work.

    • skippy says:

      Thanks, Lawyer Salary. In years past, the GOP used to have a larger tent in which to invite everyone into. Now they’ve become an exclusive club for fewer and fewer folks as of late. The GOP promises they’re going to do better in their outreach attempts. We wish them the best of luck, after mitigating those divisions fracturing their own party from within and working unselfishly for the common interests of the American people, as they did years ago. The same goes for the Democrats.

  2. @yungkashsk says:

    Interesting blog and post here! Great information and good work, well done!

  3. Lawyer says:

    A neighbor of mine urged me to see your site a month or so back because we like the same issues, and I would like you to know I’m impressed.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Dave Barry comes to town
    From 50 years of our overstocked archives [In 1980 your editor got a letter from Peter Menkin of the Features Associates syndicate saying that their columnist - a guy named Schwimmer - was no longer writing but that they had a new offering he thought I would like. I wrote back wondering if there were a backlog of Schwimmer columns we could draw upon and the […]
  • What's happening
    ‏@froomkin - 88% of McConnell’s money is from out of stateThirty-seven percent of Americans think the news media should be required to get government approval before reporting on national security issues. Let's let that sink in for a minute. The First Amendment... reads in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, o […]
  • California crop harvest plunges
    Sacramento Bee Although harvest of many crops isn’t complete, production is sure to fall.Rice: Growers planted 140,000 fewer acres than last year, a drop of 25 percent.Almonds: Crop estimated at 1.9 billion pounds, down from 2 billion last year.Corn: Production down by an estimated 45 percent.Cotton: Acres planted shrank by 23 percent.Oranges: Crop expected […]
  • Jazz break
    Anita O'Day "Fly Me to the Moon" […]
  • Pentagon launches advisement force
    Duffle Blog - A force of approximately 25,000 advisers from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Adviser Division is heading to Iraq to not participate in direct ground combat of any kind, the Pentagon announced Thursday.... Sources confirmed the new unit was formed after Pentagon leaders realized direct ground combat and trying to impose U.S. will on the enemy had negative […]
  • Race to the Bottom: Boycotts
    The top of the worst, based on actions, stats & statementsover the past year  Israel Koch Brothers Monsanto Nestle Staples Walmart […]
  • I'm confused
    Sam Smith - If beheadings are what have us so upset, why aren't we bombing Saudi Arabia?If the killing of innocent Americans is what has us so upset, why aren't we bombing Ferguson, Missouri?If the largest military force in the world is so afraid of ten to thirty thousand rebels, why are we so aggressive towards the Russians?Why we have we done vir […]
  • Pocket paradigm
    We live in a nation hated abroad and frightened at home. A place in which we can reasonably refer to the American Republic in the past tense. A country that has moved into a post-constitutional era, no longer a nation of laws but an autocracy run by law breakers, law evaders and law ignorers. A nation governed by a culture of impunity ... a culture in which […]
  • Word
    Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it - James Baldwin […]
  • The cop car problem
    Sam Smith - Back in the 1960s, the DC police department began moving its officers off the streets and into patrol cars. At the time I was editing a newspaper in a community behind the US Capitol that was two thirds black and included some of the poorest and most powerful people in the city. A few years later two of the city’s four 1968 riot strips would be i […]
  • The media's anti-left bias
    From 50 years of our overstocked archivesSam Smith, 2005 - Dana Milbank's snotty attack on critics of White House behavior as revealed in the Downing Street memos illuminates a carefully concealed truth about the media: its definition of objectivity stops at the edge of anything left of center. Standard Democratic policy is okay, even a liberal quote or […]
  • The real economy: income vs. college cost
    CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS […]
  • Tip to the media
    Although you may not like it, America is not a monarchy. Thus there is absolutely no reason to suggest, as some of you have, that Chelsea Clinton's daughter will become president of the United States. […]
  • Race to the Bottom
    The top of the worst, based on actions, stats & statements over the past year Policies War on ISIS NSA spying Common Core War on drugs Austerity budgeting […]
  • How copyright law is killing our culture
    Mike Masnick, Tech Dirt - As you may have heard, there's a new movie about a transformative year in Jimi Hendrix's life, called Jimi: All Is By My Side. The story sounds pretty interesting, but there's one big element that's missing: Jimi Hendrix's original music. The Jimi Hendrix Estate denied any and all attempts to license his mus […]