News Abortion

New Mexico Rape Bill Author Claims Exempting Victims from Punishment Wasn’t Necessary

Robin Marty

"I'm sure the prosecutor will understand" isn't usually a sound way to write your legislative bills.

Republican Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico has been quickly clarifying her “destroying the evidence” abortion bill—banning abortion in cases of rape—after news of the proposed law’s possibility to allow women who have been rape victims to be jailed if they obtained an abortion set the national media on fire.

Now, in a moment of blame shifting, Brown is stating that the real fault wasn’t hers, but that of a “bill drafter” who said that clarifying that the law wouldn’t be applied to the victim herself wasn’t needed.

Via The New Mexican:

In another twist, Brown on Friday told a KNME reporter that she’d 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.

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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.

Thank goodness the original drafter quit his or her job, since obviously that person wasn’t very good at it. That a person writing legislation, especially concerning regarding a new felony crime, would say that “prosecutors would understand” and so details of the law don’t need to be included shows a pretty clear lack of detail to the actual crafting of bills.

The “I didn’t know” explanation of Brown’s seems reminiscent of the 2011 South Dakota “shoot a provider” bill, where its sponsor also claimed he had no idea that the language could have been used in other ways than what he intended. That bill was drafted not by the author, but by Americans United for Life, who later stated that the bill was misunderstood and they had never meant for it to open up a loophole to allow medical professionals offering abortions to be murdered.

As we’ve seen in numerous cases, prosecutors are more than willing to throw pregnant women in jail for “crimes” performed on the fetus, be it Jennie McCormack’s “illegal abortion,” Bei Bei Shuai’s suicide, or Amanda Kimbrough’s son’s premature birth. Leaving charging women up to the discretion of the prosecutor? Something tells me that wasn’t an “accident” at all.

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