Cathyrnn Brown: Dumb as a door-stop or one
nasty pro-life fascist?
Pro-lifer fascist, Cathyrnn Brown
Could any lawmaker -- even a pro-lifer -- be so cruel and
barbarous to even consider passing a law that forces the victim of rape/incest
to carry the fetus to term? Tighten down your seat belt because this post
is going to be one rough ride.
When I first saw this story I thought surely here is yet
another example of blatant lies propagated by the left-wing-nut BlogsSphere in order to advance
partisan positions. Laura Bassett at HuffPo
and Katie McDonough at Salon
were all over this story about a New Mexico bill forcing raped women to carry the baby to
term, and I thought surely they are not reading the bill correctly. But
having looked into the details I can see that Laura and Katie are absolutely right to
be going ballistic. The bottom line is that it looks like this Cathrynn Brown anti-abortion
wench is trying to pull a fast one in New Mexico.
The story starts with Section 30-22-5, paragraph A of the New Mexico state
code, which makes tampering with evidence a crime. Paragraph A defines
tampering with evidence as:
A. Tampering with evidence consists of destroying, changing, hiding,
placing or fabricating any physical evidence with intent to prevent the
apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person or to throw suspicion of
the commission of a crime upon another. [Source
OK, that’s not a complicated piece of law. But note the qualifier at the
end – there must be an intent to prevent apprehension etc. of the perp or to
throw suspicion upon an innocent person. That’s important. Destroying evidence
with out having this specific intent is not illegal, otherwise some innocent kid
who picks up a .223 casing on the school playground and throws it away could be
busted for tampering with evidence.
Then comes Cathrynn
Brown, who is a Republican member of the New Mexico House
of Representatives and board member of the lifer group Right to Life of
Carlsbad. Brown claims that she wanted to amend the tampering with evidence
law so that it includes a man who by rape or incest impregnates a woman and then
threatens or coerces her to get an abortion in order to destroy evidence of the
crime. Certainly this sort of thing must happen all the time, particularly in
incest cases, and so this is a laudable and worthy goal. But that is not Brown’s
whole objective, or if it is she is too stupid to be in any legislature.
For in order to achieve the foregoing goal, all that would be needed is to
amend the law by adding the following paragraph:
A.1. The term "physical evidence" of Paragraph A shall include a
fetus that is produced from rape or incest, except that a woman who aborts
such a fetus under duress, coercion, or fear shall not be guilty of violating
Bingo. You have it. With this amendment, anyone involved in aborting a fetus
in order to hide a crime is guilty of tampering with evidence. Actually,
my guess would be that even as it now stands, a fetus would be considered
"physical evidence," and the existing laws on coercion and duress
would cover the woman who is forced into an abortion. So there is no need
for any such expansion of the law. Now this Cathrynn Brown is almost
certainly a smarter lawyer than I am, and she knows this as well as I do. So,
what is Brown is trying to pull here?
Brown’s bill does not amend Paragraph A, and does not amend the definition
of "physical evidence" of Paragraph A. What Brown’s bill does is add
Paragraph B, and Paragraph B sets out a completely new type of tampering with
evidence which has nothing to do with Paragraph A, and – most importantly –
deletes the intent clause of Paragraph A. Here's Brown's Paragraph B:
B. 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. [Source
Pursuant to Brown’s Paragraph B tampering, in the case of rape/incest it
becomes a crime to procure an abortion, or facilitate an abortion, or
compel/coerce someone to obtain an abortion if: 1) the intent is to destroy
evidence of a crime, and 2) the fetus was produced by rape or incest.
Notice how the intent has been modified. In the original tampering law,
intent is with respect to the motive of the crime – but that intent is gone
from Brown's tampering. The criminal intent under Paragraph B is not the intent
to prevent conviction of the criminal or to put someone else in jail. Under
Brown’s proposed version, the intent has to do with actually destroying the
fetus, not why. As long as you intend to destroy the fetus, for whatever
reason, you are guilty. Of course, there are many reasons a woman in such a
situation would want an abortion, and most of them have nothing to do
with concealing the crime.
Let’s look more closely at Brown’s phrase "with the intent to
destroy evidence of the crime."
Because of the shift in intent, under Brown’s amendment, any girl
or woman who aborts a rape/incest fetus for any reason – whether or not that
reason has anything to do with covering up the crime – that girl or woman
would be guilty of tampering with the evidence.
Furthermore, from both a legal and a biological point of view, an abortion
does not "destroy the evidence." A fetus, once aborted, would still be
evidence of the crime. All that is needed is to take a DNA sample and some
photographs. Preserve it in formaldehyde, if necessary. It is
nonsense to equate abortion with destruction of evidence.
What Brown is trying to do is devious. She is trying to concoct a new tampering law that makes a
raped girl or woman more vulnerable to prosecution than those who violate the existing tampering
law because the new law has no requirement that the intent be to cover up a
crime or get an innocent person convicted. The sole criminal intent under Brown’s
law would be the intent to have an abortion . . . for any reason.
Forgive me for saying it this way, but judging from her bill, this Cathyrnn
Brown is either as dumb as a door-stop or one nasty and devious pro-life
fascist. As would be expected of a facist, she
is pushing to repeal New Mexico's law that allows cancer patients to
access medical marijuana. Yep, that's the Republican agenda -- war on
women, war on those needing medical care. Who would support such a ghoul?
Well, Karen Westall, for one. She is Brown's biggest cash cow at $5000
for the last election. It's sometimes kind of hard to run down
these names on the Internet, but if this is the same Karen
Westall who was the lawyer managing BP's Gulf Spill spin, then she
surely has $5000 to throw around. That seems to jibe with
this 2006 listing of New Mexico political contributors, which shows a
Karen Westall with a Carlsbad zip code as being an "oil
producer." And there is a Karen Westall on the Carlsbad City Council Planning
and Zoning Commission. At one time Karen Westall was associated with Westall
Oil and Gas Co. Inc., a Louisana oil company who's president is Ray
Westall, who also has a New Mexico zip and, coincidently, the same
zip as Karen, which is in Brown's ward.
Small world, eh? BP spin-lawyers supporting pro-life fascists.