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New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence’

And Republicans wonder why they have problems getting elected, why they are accused of war on women. This proposed law is not a whole lot different than Morocco’s law that the rapist can escape prosecution by marrying the rape victim. Like let’s just go back a couple centuries where women have no rights, and a rape victim is considered damaged property. So a rape victim who has an abortion is prosecuted for destroying evidence???’

New Mexico is an interesting state, historically Republican but trending Democrat. No wonder . . .

New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence’
Laura Bassett
lbassett@huffingtonpost.com

A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial.

House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.”

“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,” the bill says.

Third-degree felonies in New Mexico carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, a progressive nonprofit opposing the bill, called it “blatantly unconstitutional” on Thursday.

“The bill turns victims of rape and incest into felons and forces them to become incubators of evidence for the state,” he said. “According to Republican philosophy, victims who are ‘legitimately raped’ will now have to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case.“

The bill is unlikely to pass, as Democrats have a majority in both chambers of New Mexico’s state legislature.

UPDATE: 12:25 p.m. — Brown said in a statement Thursday that she introduced the bill with the goal of punishing the person who commits incest or rape and then procures or facilitates an abortion to destroy the evidence of the crime.

“New Mexico needs to strengthen its laws to deter sex offenders,” said Brown. “By adding this law in New Mexico, we can help to protect women across our state.”

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January 24, 2013 Posted by | Community, Crime, Health Issues, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Social Issues, Technical Issue, Women's Issues | | 2 Comments

Indian Gang Rape Case Goes to Trial

From today’s Huffpost

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India Gang Rape Trial Begins In New Delhi
By ASHOK SHARMA

NEW DELHI — The trial of five men charged with the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus began in a closed courtroom Thursday with opening arguments by the prosecution lawyers in a special fast-track court set up just weeks ago to handle sexual assault cases.

The brutal attack last month set off protests across India and opened a national debate about the epidemic of violence against women. A government committee established in the wake of the attack has called for a complete overhaul of the way the criminal justice system deals with rape, sexual assaults and crimes against women in general.

The five men on trial – who face a maximum sentence of death by hanging if convicted – covered their faces with woolen caps as they walked into the courtroom Thursday surrounded by a phalanx of armed police. Two hours later, after proceedings were over, they were whisked away by the police.

Details of the day’s proceedings were not available. The courtroom was closed to the public and the media – a routine move in Indian rape cases – even though defense lawyers had argued that since the victim is dead, the proceedings should be opened. There was also a gag order on the lawyers to not reveal what happened inside the court.

Judge Yogesh Khanna turned down requests by journalists Thursday that they be briefed on the day’s proceedings and said the gag order would remain.

Since Friday is a public holiday in India, the next hearing in the case was set for Monday, when the defense will present its opening arguments.

A sixth suspect in the case has claimed he is a juvenile and is expected to be tried in a juvenile court.

On Thursday, a magistrate separately rejected a petition by Subramanian Swamy, a prominent politician, that no leniency be shown toward the accused who claims to be a juvenile because of the brutal nature of the crime, said Jagdish Shetty, an aide to Swamy.

Documents presented by prosecution last week to the Juvenile Justice Board indicated that the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the attack, which would make him ineligible for the death penalty.

Magistrate Geetanjali Goel is expected to rule on the suspect’s age on Jan.28.

The suspect, who is not being identified by The Associated Press because he says he is 17, would face three years in a reform facility if convicted as a juvenile.

After the fast-track court hearing, M.L. Sharma, a defense lawyer for Mukesh Singh, one of the accused, said he had withdrawn from the case. V.K. Anand, who represents Mukesh’s brother Ram Singh, will now defend both brothers. The two lawyers had been arguing over who was Mukesh Singh’s real lawyer.

Sharma said he left the case to save his client from being tortured to fire him. He has long maintained that the other defense lawyers were planted by the police to ensure guilty verdicts.

Dozens of police were outside the sprawling court complex in south New Delhi where the trial is taking place. Inside the court, about 30 policemen blocked access to the room where Khanna heard the prosecution’s case.

Outside the courtroom scores of journalists and curious onlookers crowded the hallway.

Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan warned defense lawyers that if they spoke to journalists he would slap contempt of court notices on them, said V.K. Anand, a defense lawyer.

Police say the victim and a male friend were attacked after boarding a bus Dec. 16 as they tried to return home after an evening showing of the movie “Life of Pi.” The six men, the only occupants of the private bus, allegedly beat the man with a metal bar and raped the woman with it, inflicting massive internal injuries to her, police said. The victims were dumped naked on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

Abhilasha Kumari, a New Delhi-based sociologist, said the attack could end up having a large impact on the country.

`’This case has brought the violence against women center stage and it has, out of sheer public pressure, forced the government to sensitize itself to crimes against women,” she said.

The trial began a day after a government panel recommended India strictly enforce sexual assault laws, commit to holding speedy rape trials and change the antiquated penal code to protect women.

The panel appointed to examine the criminal justice system’s handling of violence against women, received a staggering 80,000 suggestions from women’s groups and thousands of ordinary citizens.

Among the panel’s suggestions were a ban on a traumatic vaginal exam of rape victims and an end to political interference in sex crime cases. It has also suggested the appointment of more judges to help speed up India’s sluggish judicial process and clear millions of pending cases.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said the government would take the recommendations to the Cabinet and Parliament.

“Procedural inadequacies that lead to inordinate delays need to be addressed,” he told reporters.

Although I have marked this with “Women’s Issues,” it is only a women’s issue when violence is directed against women and women have a limited access to justice in the system. Rape is a crime of power, inflicting unwanted and uninvited invasion of the very most personal nature. It happens to men, too. Men are far less likely to come forward. They live with the shame; many commit suicide or turn to drugs and alcohol to escape the pain. One day, with women leading the way, men, too, will be able to come forward and claim justice against those who violate them.

January 24, 2013 Posted by | Community, Crime, Family Issues, Health Issues, India, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Political Issues, Social Issues, Women's Issues | Leave a comment