IN CHRISTIAN circles there has been much praying in recent weeks that Trump nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a member of a creepy Catholic cult, gets elevated to the US Supreme Court where they believe she will overturn Roe v Wade, and do away with same-sex marriage.
But a coalition of more than 60 state prosecutors and attorneys general from across the America signaled in a Wednesday declaration that they will not enforce laws that criminalise abortion, even if the Supreme Court overturns the 1973 decision that legalised it nationwide.
Among those signatories is Danny Carr, above, the DA of Jefferson County, Alabama, whose state legislature passed a law imposing minimum prison sentences of ten years on any doctor who performs an abortion under nearly every circumstance.
The prosecutors’ statement invokes the power of prosecutorial discretion, which some prosecutors have used to reduce or eliminate prosecution of marijuana charges and other misdemeanors to reduce the disproportionate harm they can cause to nonviolent offenders.
At least 12 states have passed anti-abortion laws since last year, calling for criminal charges against the women who have abortions, doctors who perform them or both, according to Fair and Just Prosecution, the group that organised the statement.
Another signatory is Glenn Funk, District Attorney General in Nashville, whose state passed a “heartbeat” law imposing restrictions on abortions performed as early as six weeks. Federal courts have temporarily blocked the laws in Alabama and Tennessee, but anti-abortions are appealing.
The prosecutors declared in their statement:
It is imperative that we use our discretion to decline to prosecute personal healthcare choices criminalized under such laws
Citing the 47 years of legal precedent established by Roe, the prosecutors said that:
Women have a right to make decisions about their own medical care including, but not limited to, seeking an abortion.
One of the chief objections to the anti-abortion laws that prosecutors cited is that many do not create exceptions for women seeking abortions because of child molestation, rape, incest, human trafficking or domestic violence. They said that criminalising abortion will discourage such victims from reporting the crimes.
Laws that revictimize and retraumatize victims are unconscionable. Keeping communities safe inherently requires promoting trust, which would be deeply eroded by the enforcement of these laws.
Last year, Georgia passed a law giving district attorneys the discretion to bring charges against:
Anyone and everyone involved in performing and assisting with an abortion.
Three Georgia prosecutors – Paul Howard of Fulton County, David Cooke of Macon County and Sherry Boston of DeKalb County – signed the declaration that they would not enforce such laws. Boston said in a news release:
These laws not only fail to consider the needs of victims but they could actually harm public safety by spending prosecutorial resources on the victim or the professionals who provided them with needed and appropriate care, rather than on the perpetrators of child molestation, rape, incest, human trafficking or domestic violence.
The prosecutors’ statement said they believe many of the new anti-abortion laws are unconstitutional under Roe, but their decision not to prosecute abortions:
Would hold even if the protections of Roe v Wade were to be eroded or overturned.
Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution and a former federal prosecutor, said:
Elected prosecutors have the opportunity to lead and to offer peace of mind to women and health-care professionals who might otherwise be placed in the untenable position of choosing between the exercise of personal health-care choices and the threat of criminal prosecution.
Fair and Hust prosecution announced on its Facebook page that so far the declaration has attracted the signatures of 68 elected prosecutors, and intimated more would sign.
The full statement and list of signers can be reads here.