SANTA FE, N.M. — A bill sponsored by Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, has generated a firestorm of national attention today.
The measure is House Bill 206 (you can see it here) and was introduced Wednesday.
As currently written, it would make a crime of “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.”
Several online news sites, including Slate and Huffington Post, have interpreted that to mean abortion would be criminalized in cases of rape.
In a news release this morning, Brown insisted that was not the bill’s aim but said she would tweak the legislation (via a substitute bill) to make the intent more clear.
“House Bill 206 was never intended to punish or criminalize rape victims,” Brown said. “Its intent is solely to deter rape and cases of incest. The rapist — not the victim — would be charged with tampering of evidence.”
The Democratic Party of New Mexico has released a statement on the bill, with party Chairman Javier Gonzales calling it an “atrocious” piece of legislation.
“This bill is wrong and should never see the light of day in any legislature in this country, let alone New Mexico,” Gonzales said. “The war on women in America has to stop. No woman should ever be forced to carry a child for ‘evidence,’ plain and simple.”