January 25, 2013
This bear disapproves. (Jim Urquhart, File/Associated Press)
This bear disapproves. (Jim Urquhart/Associated Press)

This was the extreme example.

In New Mexico, a proposed bill would have made abortions third-degree felonies specifically in cases of rape or incest, branding them as “tampering with evidence.”

That is certainly one way to look at it. I hope the state was ready to rear little Exhibit A-9 and Exhibit B-4 when the trial ended.

This is not really a good way of showing respect for life. Or logic. Or, you know, much of anything.

After exactly the kind of ourtcry you would expect over such a wrong-headed, inane, demeaning piece of legislation, the bill has been revised to specify that it is “prohibiting prosecution of the mother of the fetus.” At least, that’s what the personal Web site of Cathrynn Brown, its sponsor, claims, as Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com noted.

So, thank heavens for that, I guess?

Fortunately, given the majority Democrat composition of the New Mexico legislature, passage seems unlikely.

But this is the trouble with any bill that seeks to “protect women” by taking choice away from them. That is not the way to protect anyone. The way to protect people who have been the victim of hideous crimes is not to stop addressing them as people and start addressing them as test tubes. Also, had Cathrynn Brown not realized that there were other ways to preserve evidence than forcing women to act as incubators? (Given the backlog of untested rape kits, perhaps not.)

As written before, this was literally the extreme example.

It is amazing the difference a line of legislation makes. As Cathrynn Brown is now trying to make clear, it would be awful, wrong and grotesque if women were forced to bear the consequences of a choice they did not make.

No parallels there, of course.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.