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New Mexico abortion bill stirs controversy

Friday, January 25, 2013 - 12:38am

A New Mexico lawmaker is taking heat after introducing a bill reading it would be tampering with evidence to have an abortion if it came as the result of a rape or incest crime.

Carlsbad Representative Cathrynn Brown introduced a bill titled "Abortion as evidence tampering in some cases" that would make it a third degree felony to have an abortion if the rape or incest crime leading to the abortion was a first or second degree felony.

"I really encourage them to read the bill itself," Brown said during an interview in Santa Fe.

Part of the language in the bill read, "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."

As written the bill reads it would be a third degree felony tampering with evidence by having an abortion. 

"The intent of this bill is to stop rape and people committing incest," Brown said.

Democratic lawmakers were outraged by the bill.

"I can't judge her intent, but to me it feels like an extension of the war on women," said Rep. Elizabeth Thomson, D-Albuquerque.

Brown said the language on the bill was messed up after a drafter made an error that she didn't catch when she reviewed the bill.

"When he fixed some of the tampering language in the bill, somehow it just kind of missed the emphasis I thought I'd made clear in the beginning," Brown said.

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