Swee Chung Ting, an alleged rape victim in New Mexico, is seeking to charge the state for use of her womb as an evidence locker.
It began with submission of legislation to make abortion illegal in New Mexico in cases where pregnancy results from rape or incest, on the grounds that such abortion would constitute “tampering with evidence”. The prosecutor in Ms. Ting’s case apparently felt that new legislation might not be required, and filed an injunction against Ms. Ting to prevent her from having an abortion, on the same grounds.
Ms. Ting says that she is willing to turn the evidence over to the state, but if the state requires her to keep it, she should be allowed to charge for the service.
In the meantime, the defense lawyer has demanded to see the evidence. “If the fetus constitutes evidence,” he said, “the defense has a right to view it. We therefore ask the state to compel Ms. Ting to make this evidence available to us. She has even refused to permit us to view where it is kept, notwithstanding the state contention that the defendant has already seen it.”
The court has deferred a ruling on these issues, but Ms. Ting is also seeking a rape indictment against the state for screwing her against her will. According to legal experts, the case may go all the way to the Supreme Court because of the implications for the defendant’s constitutional right of access to evidence, as well as standard definitions of rape, evidence, tampering, and other competing rights and definitions. In the meantime, the court has held that the evidence should remain sealed.