Aborting does not actually destroy evidence, and there are a multitude of other reasons to abort other than with the intent to destroy evidence.
Well, technically, aborting can
destroy evidence. The assumption in most of the discussion so far is that the woman getting the abortion is choosing to do so of her own free will, in which case sure, she could keep the foetus or arrange for investigators to get it somehow.
But imagine a case where a daughter has been molested by her father. The daughter gets pregnant, and the father - to avoid the crime being detected, and especially to avoid having it pinned on him - forces her to get an abortion. With his parental consent, it's a done deal. The foetus is gone, and only a court order could uncover evidence that the abortion - and thus the pregnancy - ever happened at all. And of course, at that point the father could claim that someone else raped the daughter. It would be a pretty effective way to avoid prosecution, especially if the daughter is not cooperating with the investigation and doesn't name the abortion clinic - but even if she wants to help with the investigation, it's already suffered a hell of a setback.
Of course, this new law does absolutely nothing to help in this regard. It does nothing to stop
this kind of thing from happening. And if it does happen, this is already destruction of evidence under existing law. The new law adds nothing.
It criminalizes the intent rather than the act - something that our justice system looks at all the time, for example in degrees of murder. So it's not new and radical and criminalizing the act of abortion itself.
No law criminalizes intent; we don't make laws for thought crimes. This law, like all laws, criminalizes an intentional action
. In this case, the action it criminalizes is abortion.
Even in the cases of murder, the only reason intent gets discussed is to figure out which type
of homicide happened: premeditated, crime-of-passion, intended-to-kill-someone
(but not necessarily the person who actually got killed), not-intended-to-kill (but a competent and reasonable person should have known it would have), self-defence, etc. (Which roughly map to first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, justifiable homicide, etc.) It's not the intention being prosecuted, the action is being prosecuted - the intention is only used to figure out precisely what the action was, whether it was "premeditated homicide", or "homicide in self-defence" or whatever else.
(To further hammer the point home that this law does criminalize the intent, but rather the act of abortion, consider what would happen if a person intended
to abort a rape baby to destroy evidence, but got arrested for something else on their way to the clinic, then admitted their intention in jail. They couldn't be prosecuted for intending
to abort the rape baby/destroy the evidence. They could only be prosecuted if they actually did it.)
This case is particularly transparent. It can't be argued that this isn't a law to make abortion illegal - at least in limited cases - because there are already
laws against destroying evidence. If you've read the bill, you can see that all it does is insert this abortion thing right into the existing legal text about tampering with evidence. The existing text is already good enough to cover the new stuff being added, if the new stuff is legitimately what it is purported to be - if investigators or the court decide the foetus is evidence and that aborting it is "destroying, changing, hiding, placing or fabricating" that evidence, then the existing law covers it.
This new bill - and its revised version - serves no other purpose other than specifically
making abortion illegal, at least in those specific circumstances. It just does so in an underhanded way by reframing the act. Like most actions, this particular action can be described in multiple, equally valid ways: for example, it could be called "aborting a rape baby" or it could be called "tampering with evidence of a rape". The bill sneakily uses the latter framing to hide that it's just about the abortion. And it is
just about the abortion, because the existing text already covers the "tampering with evidence of a rape" angle, so the new text must
just be about the abortion angle. It's the only reasonable conclusion.
Aside from the fact that people do stupid stuff all the time without actually having sinister intents... >.>
And also aside from the fact that people do sinister things, and try to cover them up by acting stupid, all the time?
("Gee, officer, I didn't know this was illegal! ~bats eyelashes~")
It's a two-page bill that criminalizes the coercion of a victim of rape to have an abortion. If you would like to label that as sinister, that's perfectly fine, because whether this is sinister or not is a matter of opinion. And my opinion is that, while the lady chose a really stupid method, it is not sinister.
I think you're being far too naive about this particular lawmaker's intention. (I'd also point out that you were the one who introduced the loaded word "sinister". If it were up to me, I would just call it dishonest and an underhanded attempt to criminalize legal abortion. Those aren't matters of opinion, they are matters of fact. If she really is more interested in criminalizing abortion than in protecting "evidence", despite claiming otherwise, it may be a matter of opinion whether that is "sinister" or "heroically clever"... but it would not be a matter of opinion that it is dishonest and underhanded.)
Lawmakers may be stupid - and often are - but there are patterns to their stupidity. They often pass hastily written and stupid bills in the face of public pressure, or in the wake of major events or overwhelming numbers. That's not the case here. Has there been any
case on recent record where an abortion has destroyed evidence, and prevented prosecution? Possibly, but is it really that widespread a problem that a specific law is needed to cover it, especially when it's already covered by existing law? In lieu of that... what prompted
this bill? It didn't just pop out of thin air; something
motivated Cathrynn Brown to go through the process of writing the bill, and risking her political career putting it up for debate... more than once
. So what made her do it? There are hundreds
of other issues she could have focused her attention on, and many other bills - stupid or otherwise - she could have written. Why this one?
It's pretty obvious. It's an underhanded attempt to undermine abortion rights. There is no other reasonable conclusion. Cathrynn Brown is a lawyer
for goodness sake. And, unsurprisingly, she's an avid and active anti-abortion advocate (and a climate change denier to boot, incidentally). We can't have an effective democracy if we assume our lawmakers have the IQ of vegetables, or if we blindly take seriously their claims, when they've been caught doing something disgusting, that their intentions were pure... especially when the disgusting thing they did is perfectly in line with everything else they've said and done in their political careers, and their stated ideologies, that they even campaigned on.
I don't doubt at all that she fumbled this bill - that's why she was so quick to take it back... but then she revised it and resubmitted it
. (The new text makes it clear the rape victim won't be prosecuted - only anyone who forces her or facilitates the abortion knowing the circumstances. But still, every other criticism expressed so far stands.) I do really believe that she didn't intend to prosecute rape victims
for getting abortions, rather than anyone who makes them get an abortion. I do really believe that was an accident. But I also fully believe that she does
intend to make abortion illegal in any situations she can, and no, that's not my opinion: that's her stated policy as an anti-abortion activist. I hope no one was surprised that she's an anti-abortion activist, and, in fact, on the board of an anti-abortion group. Would anybody be surprised to learn that she has never shown any interest in police procedural matters before this (her main field of interest seems to be agricultural and water issues)?
To put it bluntly, one of two things is true. Either Cathrynn Brown really is so dumb that she thought this was a good idea for the reasons stated, and so out of touch with reality that she thought this issue was important or widespread enough to write a bill about, in which case, she should be asked to resign immediately for her obvious incompetence. Or she's being dishonest about her intentions with this bill. Given that she has been a lawyer for decades, is obviously quite well educated, that there has been absolutely no major case or widespread push for a law like this, that she has never shown any other interest in court or police procedures, and that she has for many years been an active and vocal anti-abortion advocate... which option, as an honest, thinking adult, do you think is true? We don't do ourselves or anyone else any good by sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring the obvious.
Additionally, I wish that pro-choice activists would stop focusing on minor things like this, because it expends effort that could be directed at people like Richard "Gift from God" Mourdock.
Yes, well, pro-choice activists wish the anti-abortion activists would stop trying
"minor things" like this. And I'm sure anti-abortion activists would just love for the pro-choice activists to ignore "minor things" like this. But all it will take for the anti-abortion activists to take away women's rights is for the pro-choice activists to stop
calling out "minor things" like this. The only people who benefit from not
having "minor" underhanded and dishonest things made loudly public are the people who are doing underhanded and dishonest things, minor or otherwise.