On Friday, U.S. district attorneys released a joint statement stating their position on abortion laws and whether they will prosecute those seeking, providing or supporting abortions.
The statement had the signatures of 80 district attorneys across the nation, with room for more to join.
“Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion,” the statement said. “But we stand together in our firm belief that prosecutors have a responsibility to refrain from using limited criminal legal system resources to criminalize personal medical decisions.”
The statement went on to say that the attorneys decline to use their resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions and that they are committed to exercising their well-settled discretion, as well as refraining from prosecuting those who seek, provide or support abortions.
To explain their positioning further, the prosecutors’ joint statement added, “Prosecutors are entrusted with immense discretion. With this discretion comes the obligation to seek justice. And at the heart of the pursuit of justice is the furtherance of policies and practices that protect the well-being and safety of all members of our community.”
And they said that because of their responsibility to uphold justice and protect the well-being of all members of their communities, including victims of sexual assault and rape, they will not prosecute those that are trying to receive safe abortion services.
“Enforcing abortion bans runs counter to the obligations and interests we are sworn to uphold,” the statement said. “It will erode trust in the legal system, hinder our ability to hold perpetrators accountable, take resources away from the enforcement of serious crime, and inevitably lead to the retraumatization and criminalization of victims of sexual violence.”
The prosecutors also shared their thoughts on what they felt could happen if abortion bans become more widespread.
“Criminalizing abortion will not end abortion; it will simply end safe abortions, forcing the most vulnerable among us — as well as medical providers — to make impossible decisions,” the statement said. “Abortion bans will isolate people from the law enforcement, medical, and social resources they need.”
In their closing statement, the prosecutors reiterated their position.
“Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice; prosecutors should not be part of that,” the statement said.
The statement was signed by 80 total prosecutors, including nine Virginia Commonwealth Attorneys: Joseph Platania, Bryan Porter, Shannon Taylor, Buta Biberaj, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Steve Descano, Ramin Fatehi, Colette McEachin and Stephanie Morales.
See the full joint statement below: