State Attorneys Vow Not to Prosecute Abortion-Related Crimes

  • Leaked Supreme Court documents show the court may be poised to overturn federal abortion protection.
  • As anti-abortion laws pass nationwide, state attorneys vow not to prosecute abortion-related crimes.
  • Michigan’s Attorney General and District Attorneys in Louisiana and North Carolina have spoken out against the laws.

With the Supreme Court possibly poised to overturn federal abortion protections and anti-abortion legislation passing nationwide, enforcement problems loom as state prosecutors vow not to pursue abortion-related crimes.

“As attorney general, I have statewide jurisdiction. I ran on a platform of understanding that likely during the course of my term, Roe v. Wade would be overturned,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told Meet the Press on Sunday.

A 1931 law would make abortion in Michigan a felony if Roe is overturned. The law is one of 13 “trigger laws” banning abortion which would become enforceable should federal protections established by Roe v. Wade be rolled back.

“And this incredibly draconian and strict 1931 law would criminalize abortion in this state with virtually no exceptions — no exception for rape, for incest, no exception for medical emergencies,” Nessel said.

“And understanding that the lives of our 2.2 million women who are of childbearing age in this state, their lives would be at risk,” Nessel added. “I refuse to enforce this draconian law that will endanger their lives and put in jeopardy the health, safety and welfare of the lives of each and every woman in the state of Michigan.”

Attorney General Nessel’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Michigan’s Attorney General is not alone in refusing to enforce anti-abortion laws. District Attorneys in Louisiana and North Carolina, who have jurisdiction over smaller regions, have shared similar sentiments since news broke of the leaked draft opinion from Supreme Court Justice Alito which indicated the court may be prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I cannot and will not shift the priority from tackling shootings, rapes and carjackings to investigating the choices women make with regard to their own bodies,” Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams said in a statement released Friday that indicated his office would “not prosecute pregnancy.”

District Attorney Williams’ office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

This week Louisiana advanced a proposal that would classify abortion as homicide and make it possible for prosecutors to bring criminal charges against women who pursue abortion, The New York Times reported.

North Carolina does not have a trigger law in place, but Durham District Attorney Satana Deberry has similarly vowed not to prosecute abortion-related crimes, should new legislation be passed which criminalizes patients or providers.

“As district attorney, I am committed to the safety and well-being of everyone in our community,” Deberry said in a statement released on Twitter. “This is why I joined nearly 100 criminal justice leaders in an amicus brief urging the Court to uphold precedent in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization and have pledged not to prosecute women who obtain abortions or the health care professionals who assist them.”

Leave a Comment