New Mexico Legislation Would Criminalize Abortions in Cases of Rape

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 24 2013 10:42 AM

New Mexico Legislation Would Criminalize Abortions in Cases of Rape

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A man holding a US flag leads an anti-abortion rights march and rally on day two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 5, 2012.

Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages

The most popular, lazy theory for Republican renewal is some version of this: "We've got to stop nominating Republicans who make rape gaffes! Don't talk about rape!" But the Todd Akins of the world don't "talk about rape" because they're venal. They talk about it because they deeply believe that life begins at the moment of conception. Most Republicans do.

Which brings us to Rep. Cathrynn Brown's House Bill 206 in New Mexico.

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.
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If this became law, and you were raped and got pregnant, aborting that pregnancy would amount to evidence-tampering, a first-degree felony.

Rep. Brown is a Republican, and thanks to the Obama wave last year, Democrats retain control of the New Mexico legislature. This bill is likely doomed.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.