US

Almost 100 prosecutors across 29 states vow NOT to prosecute women who seek abortions and medics

Elected prosecutors across 29 states have signed a statement suggesting they will refuse to prosecute people who seek, assist and provide those who have abortions following the Supreme Court‘s decision to overturn the 50-year law that guaranteed access to the procedure in every state.

Those signing the statement include officials from states including Mississippi, Missouri and Wisconsin that have enacted bans or about to introduce bans following Roe v. Wade’s reversal.

‘Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion, 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. 

Texas Travis County District Attorney José Garza is one of those who has signed the pledge despite serving in a state with a ‘trigger law’

People protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the court's decision to overturnsthe landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion

People protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the court’s decision to overturnsthe landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion

Pro-choice demonstrators participate in a march and rally outside the Republican-led Georgia State Capitol after the US Supreme Court's decision

Pro-choice demonstrators participate in a march and rally outside the Republican-led Georgia State Capitol after the US Supreme Court’s decision

‘As such, we decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions and commit to exercise our well-settled discretion and refrain from prosecuting those who seek, provide, or support abortions,’ read the statement which has been signed by 84 prosecutors.

The group includes district attorneys and state attorneys general, according to NBC.

The prosecutors added further detail explaining how enforcing abortion bans would  ‘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.’

One district attorney from Texas, Joe Gonzalez, whose jurisdiction includes the city of San Antonio, said ‘using limited resources to prosecute personal healthcare decisions would be a violation’ of his oath.

Texas is among 13 states that would automatically ban abortion in the first and second trimesters within 30 days of the Supreme Court’s decision. 

‘Outlawing abortion will not end abortion; it will simply end safe abortions and prevent people from seeking the care and help they need for fear of criminal prosecution. I refuse to subject members of my community to that risk,’ Gonzalez said in a statement.

Travis County District Attorney José Garza in Texas, urged women to continue to seek medical help.

‘While I am aware that our state’s ‘trigger law’ goes into effect in 30 days, making performing an abortion a felony, I will not force women into the shadows, especially when they need life-saving medical care,’ Garza said in a statement. 

‘No matter what the law says, I implore you: please, seek medical help if you need it. A prosecutor’s job is to protect public safety, and to enforce this law will not only fail to promote or protect public safety but will also lead to more harm.’

Six prosecutors in Michigan– Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, Marquette County Prosecutor Matthew Wiese, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton– also signed the pledge.

‘Michigan’s anti-abortion statutes were written and passed in 1931,’ the Michigan prosecutors said in a joint statement. 

‘There were no women serving in the Michigan legislature. Those archaic statutes are unconstitutionally and dangerously vague, leaving open the potential for criminalizing doctors, nurses, anesthetists, health care providers, office receptionists – virtually anyone who either performs or assists in performing these medical procedures. Even the patient herself could face criminal liability under these statutes.

‘We believe those laws conflict with the oath we took to support the United States and Michigan Constitutions, and to act in the best interest of the health and safety of our communities. We cannot and will not support criminalizing reproductive freedom or creating unsafe, untenable situations for health care providers and those who seek abortions in our communities.’

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald was one of six signers from the state of Michigan who signed the pledge

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald was one of six signers from the state of Michigan who signed the pledge

Across the country, demonstrators were taking to the streets to express their anger at the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the 50-year law that guaranteed access to abortion in every state

Across the country, demonstrators were taking to the streets to express their anger at the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 50-year law that guaranteed access to abortion in every state

Other states have moved to quickly to enforce the ban.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt triggered’ a house bill and became the first state in the country to effectively end abortion.

13 other trigger states have laws in place to immediately ban abortion.

‘My Office has been fighting to uphold the sanctity of life since I became attorney general, culminating in today’s momentous court ruling and attorney general opinion,’ Schmitt said in a statement. 

‘I will continue the fight to protect all life, born and unborn.’ 

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt triggered' a house bill and became the first state in the country to effectively end abortion

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt triggered’ a house bill and became the first state in the country to effectively end abortion

On Friday night protesters sang and chanted outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after he revealed he now has laws protecting gay marriage, gay sexual activity and contraception in his sights.

Across the country, demonstrators were taking to the streets to express their anger at the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 50-year law that guaranteed access to abortion in every state.

In New York City, a crowd thousands strong massed in Union Square and Washington Square Park, and then marched up Park Avenue. In Washington DC, Union Square was the site of demonstrations, while protesters from Boston to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles marched in fury. 

Outside Thomas’s Virginia home, a crowd of several dozen people waved placards, drummed and waved flags.

People demonstrate on Friday night outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

People demonstrate on Friday night outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

‘My body, my choice!’ they yelled, holding aloft posters labelling Thomas a ‘treasonous turd’ and proclaiming: ‘Reproductive rights = human rights.’ 

One woman wore the rainbow-colored tabard of abortion clinic workers, who protect the women seeking treatment and being threatened by pro-life activists outside.

There was no visible police presence, but it was likely there: on June 16, Joe Biden signed into law the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, providing security for the immediate families of the nine justices and other officers of the court. 

Protesters in Washington, D.C., shared arrangements to carpool together on Friday evening to Thomas’s house.

‘Enraged? Devastated? Pissed the f*** off? So are we,’ tweeted Our Rights DC.

Pro-choice extremist group Jane’s Revenge promised a ‘night of rage’. 

NEW YORK CITY: Washington Square Park, in lower Manhattan, was packed with protesters on Friday evening

NEW YORK CITY: Washington Square Park, in lower Manhattan, was packed with protesters on Friday evening

NEW YORK CITY: A crowd gathered on Friday evening in Washington Square Park

NEW YORK CITY: A crowd gathered on Friday evening in Washington Square Park

NEW YORK CITY: Women bearing placards converged on Washington Square Park in Manhattan

NEW YORK CITY: Women bearing placards converged on Washington Square Park in Manhattan

NEW YORK CITY: Protesters on Friday night are pictured in Washington Square Park

NEW YORK CITY: Protesters on Friday night are pictured in Washington Square Park

Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, spoke from the steps of City Hall on Friday and proclaimed that his city was ready to welcome those women who needed an abortion, but were unable to get one in their home state.

He also revealed that, when he was 15, his then-girlfriend needed and got an abortion.

He said he was just back from jail – he was arrested for trespassing because he entered a house to take possessions, feeling he hadn’t been compensated for odd jobs – when his girlfriend told him.

‘Linda came to me and said, ‘Eric, I’m pregnant and look at your life,’ Adams said.

‘She said Eric, you’re arrested, you’re not going to school, what future is this baby going to have.’

‘She made the decision that was smart for both of us, she made the right call because she was empowered, she was in control.’

Seven of Adams’s top deputies — all women — took to the microphone to condemn the Supreme Court’s decision.

Three of them said they had had an abortion.

‘Being a mother is the best job I’ve ever had, and I’ve loved it so much,’ said Anne Williams-Isom, the deputy mayor, who oversees public health and social services.

‘But when I was 18 years old, I was not ready to be a mom.

‘If I did not have access to a safe affordable abortion, I would not be here with you all today.

‘I wouldn’t have the life that I wanted to have. I wouldn’t be the mother that I wanted to be.’

New York officials have long been preparing to welcome women seeking abortions.

Kathy Hochul, governor of New York, on Friday declared her state a ‘safe harbor’ for those seeking abortions. 

Hochul, a Democrat and the state’s first female governor, announced an advertising campaign and a new website that would inform women in New York and around the country about their rights to an abortion in the state and potential resources available to them.

‘This is repulsive at every level,’ Hochul said on Friday, speaking at a groundbreaking for the Stonewall National Monument’s visitor center in Manhattan.

On Friday, multiple blue chip firms including Disney, JP Morgan and Meta announced they will pay the expenses of staff forced to travel out-of-state for an abortion. 

Other firms including Netflix, Vogue publisher Conde Naste and Yelp have also signaled they’ll cover expenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Disney said on Friday that it would cover the cost of employees who need to travel to another location to access care, including abortions, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. 

The company employs 195,000 worldwide, including roughly 80,000 in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.

Disney told employees on Friday that it recognizes the impact of the abortion ruling, but remains committed to providing comprehensive access to quality healthcare, including for abortions, according to a Disney spokesperson.

‘We recognize the impact of the ruling and that we remain committed to providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all of our employees, cast members and their families, including family planning and reproductive care, no matter where they live,’ Disney said in a statement.

Yelp co-founder and Chief Executive Jeremy Stoppelman on Friday said the ruling ‘puts women’s health in jeopardy, denies them their human rights, and threatens to dismantle the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplace since Roe.’

Meta will reimburse travel expenses for employees seeking out-of-state reproductive care, but the company was also ‘assessing how best to do so given the legal complexities involved,’ according to a spokesperson.

Netflix added travel reimbursement for abortions and gender-affirming care to its health care plan. 

The policy, which also covers cancer treatment and transplants, pays up to $10,000 per service for each employee.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called on fellow jurists to overturn previous landmark rulings after the court nixed Roe v. Wade on Friday

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called on fellow jurists to overturn previous landmark rulings after the court nixed Roe v. Wade on Friday

Protesters plan to target the street where Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni live

WASHINGTON DC: Capitol Police dressed in riot gear stand outside the Capitol on Friday evening as protests erupted

WASHINGTON DC: Capitol Police dressed in riot gear stand outside the Capitol on Friday evening as protests erupted 

WASHINGTON DC: Capitol Police are seen on duty on Friday evening in Washington DC, as protests spread

WASHINGTON DC: Capitol Police are seen on duty on Friday evening in Washington DC, as protests spread

BOSTON: Protesters march through Boston, Massachusetts on Friday evening to express their anger at the decision

BOSTON: Protesters march through Boston, Massachusetts on Friday evening to express their anger at the decision

NEW YORK CITY: Protesters in New York City gather at Union Square in Manhattan to show their anger at the decision

NEW YORK CITY: Protesters in New York City gather at Union Square in Manhattan to show their anger at the decision

BOSTON: A protester in Boston on Friday holds out a coat hanger - a symbol of the brutal measures that women used to take to abort their unwanted babies

BOSTON: A protester in Boston on Friday holds out a coat hanger – a symbol of the brutal measures that women used to take to abort their unwanted babies 

Tensions over abortion have spiraled ever since a draft opinion was leaked last month, signaling that the court was about to overturn protections.

The Department of Homeland Security, in a memo on Friday obtained by ABC News, said it expects violence could last ‘for weeks’ from domestic violent extremists (DVEs).

‘We expect violence could occur for weeks following the release, particularly as DVEs may be mobilized to respond to changes in state laws and ballot measures on abortion stemming from the decision,’ the bulletin said. 

‘We base this assessment on an observed increase in violent incidents across the United States following the unauthorized disclosure in May of a draft majority opinion on the case.’

As he condemned the court’s decision on Friday, President Joe Biden urged protesters to remain peaceful.

‘I call on everyone no matter how deeply they care about this decision to keep all protests peaceful, peaceful, peaceful, peaceful,’ he said.

‘No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable.

‘Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence in any form, regardless of your rationale.’

ATLANTA: Protesters in Georgia gathered in front of the state capitol in Atlanta

ATLANTA: Protesters in Georgia gathered in front of the state capitol in Atlanta

ATLANTA: A woman and a man in Georgia wear stickers proclaiming: 'Forced motherhood is female enslavement'

ATLANTA: A woman and a man in Georgia wear stickers proclaiming: ‘Forced motherhood is female enslavement’

ATLANTA: Protesters gather downtown to express their anger at Friday's decision

ATLANTA: Protesters gather downtown to express their anger at Friday’s decision

ATLANTA: Activists hold up signs saying 'Abortions save lives' and 'Abortion = healthcare'

ATLANTA: Activists hold up signs saying ‘Abortions save lives’ and ‘Abortion = healthcare’

ATLANTA: Demonstrators are seen outside the Georgia State Capitol

ATLANTA: Demonstrators are seen outside the Georgia State Capitol

LOS ANGELES: Protesters gather outside the First Street United States Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon

LOS ANGELES: Protesters gather outside the First Street United States Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon

WASHINGTON DC: Abortion rights activists show their anger outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC on Friday

WASHINGTON DC: Abortion rights activists show their anger outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC on Friday

WASHINGTON DC: Demonstrators in Washington DC took to the streets on Friday after the decision was announced

WASHINGTON DC: Demonstrators in Washington DC took to the streets on Friday after the decision was announced

LOS ANGELES: Cari Schaffer (L) and Hailey Valdez hold signs as protesters gather outside the First Street United States Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday

LOS ANGELES: Cari Schaffer (L) and Hailey Valdez hold signs as protesters gather outside the First Street United States Courthouse in Los Angeles on Friday

WASHINGTON DC: A woman cries outside the Supreme Court on Friday morning after the court rules that the 'Constitution does not confer a right to abortion'

WASHINGTON DC: A woman cries outside the Supreme Court on Friday morning after the court rules that the ‘Constitution does not confer a right to abortion’ 

WASHINGTON DC: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared outside the Supreme Court among the crowds in the aftermath of the Supreme Court releasing the Dobbs decision that ends abortion protections

WASHINGTON DC: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared outside the Supreme Court among the crowds in the aftermath of the Supreme Court releasing the Dobbs decision that ends abortion protections

WASHINGTON DC: Pro-life activists cheer outside the Supreme Court Friday morning after learning that the high court had overturned Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON DC: Pro-life activists cheer outside the Supreme Court Friday morning after learning that the high court had overturned Roe v. Wade 

WASHINGTON DC: Democratic members of Congress march out of the Capitol Building toward the Supreme Court to join pro-choice protesters outside the Supreme Court Friday morning

WASHINGTON DC: Democratic members of Congress march out of the Capitol Building toward the Supreme Court to join pro-choice protesters outside the Supreme Court Friday morning 

BOSTON: Senator Elizabeth Warren joins the crowd in front of the Massachusetts State House after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade

BOSTON: Senator Elizabeth Warren joins the crowd in front of the Massachusetts State House after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade 

Protesters on Friday afternoon gathered in Union Square in Washington DC, with members of Congress addressing the crowd of several hundred.

‘In almost half of this country, states are ready to ban abortion,’ said Ilhan Omar, a Democrat representing Minnesota. 

‘Outright ban abortion. That means if you are sick, if you are raped, there is incest, you are forced to have that baby or die.’ 

The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in the capital was briefly closed after a man climbed the 1,445ft structure to protest the decision. 

In his separate opinion also released on Friday, Thomas – the court’s longest-serving justice – welcomed the guidance, but noted how it falls short of addressing citizens rights’ apart from abortion.

The 74-year-old justice, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, went on to declare the court should reconsider other cases that fall under previous due process precedents.

Thomas’ argument was entrenched in the belief that since the Constitution’s Due Process Clause was found not to secure a right to an abortion in Friday’s ruling, the court should apply that same logic to other landmark cases. 

He cited three in particular – including 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut, which allowed for married couples to buy and use contraception, and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, which allowed same-sex couples to legally marry. 

Thomas' argument was entrenched in the belief that since the Constitution¿s Due Process Clause was found not to secure a right to an abortion in Friday's ruling, the court should apply that same logic to other landmark cases

Thomas’ argument was entrenched in the belief that since the Constitution’s Due Process Clause was found not to secure a right to an abortion in Friday’s ruling, the court should apply that same logic to other landmark cases

Thomas cited three in particular - including 1965's Griswold v. Connecticut, which allowed for married couples to buy and use contraception, and 2015's Obergefell v. Hodges, which allowed same-sex couples (pictured) to legally marry

Thomas cited three in particular – including 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut, which allowed for married couples to buy and use contraception, and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, which allowed same-sex couples (pictured) to legally marry

President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the White House's Cross Hall on Friday calling it 'a very solemn moment' and a 'sad day for the court and the country.' He also warned: 'If the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question. A whole range of rights'

President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the White House’s Cross Hall on Friday calling it ‘a very solemn moment’ and a ‘sad day for the court and the country.’ He also warned: ‘If the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question. A whole range of rights’  

Perhaps most shockingly, though, the jurist suggested the court also reexamine Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 judgement that ruled that nixed some states’ century-old criminal sanctions on citizens who committed sodomy.

All have to do with Americans’ fundamental privacy, due process, and equal protection rights – tenets also central to Fridays decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

‘For that reason,’ Thomas, 74, wrote,  ‘in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.’

The justice, a known conservative, went on to declare that ‘we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.

Notably absent from the prior cases in Thomas’ concurring opinion was the 1967 case Loving v. Virginia, which barred the state from prohibiting interracial marriage. 

Thomas is in an interracial marriage, as the justice is black and his wife Ginni Thomas – a conservative activist who absorbed Trump’s ‘big lie’ – is white.  

The assertion from Thomas comes as members of the left had warned that such a ruling could lead to the reversal of other landmark cases, following Politico’s leak of an initial draft of the court’s decision in May.

Justice Clarence Thomas is pictured with his wife, Ginni - a controversial conservative activist, who was in touch with a key Trump adviser during the January 6 insurrection

Justice Clarence Thomas is pictured with his wife, Ginni – a controversial conservative activist, who was in touch with a key Trump adviser during the January 6 insurrection

Retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer warned in the dissenting opinion that the current court could also go after rulings that came before and after Roe that are based on the same legal reasoning including Griswold v. Connecticut and the landmark Obergefell, which legalized same-sex marriage

Retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer warned in the dissenting opinion that the current court could also go after rulings that came before and after Roe that are based on the same legal reasoning including Griswold v. Connecticut and the landmark Obergefell, which legalized same-sex marriage

Biden – who called Friday’s 5-4 vote to nix the 1973 decision ‘a tragic error’ – said of the draft opinion in May: ‘If the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question. A whole range of rights.’

‘The idea [that] we’re letting the states make those decisions, localities make those decisions, would be a fundamental shift in what we’ve done,’ the president added. 

On Friday, Biden also pointed out that three justices appointed by previous Trump – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – were central to the overturning of Roe.

‘It was three justices named by one president – Donald Trump – who were at the core of today’s decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country,’ Biden said.

‘This fall, Roe is on the ballot.’ 

Kamala Harris, the vice president, declared that voters will have ‘the final word’.

‘This is not over,’ Harris said on Friday, speaking at a conference in Plainfield, Illinois. 

‘You have the power to elect leaders who will defend and protect your rights.’

Harris continued: ‘Millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the health care and reproductive care that they had this morning. 

‘Without access to the same health care or reproductive health care that their mothers and grandmothers had for 50 years.’ 

Retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who penned the dissent signed on by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, also predicted that the demise of Roe could have broader implications. 

‘And no one should be confident that this majority is done with its work,’ Breyer wrote, after laying out how the decision suggests that a ‘woman has not rights to speak of.’ 

‘The right Roe and Casey recognized does not stand alone. To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation,’ Breyer noted. 

Breyer, like Thomas, points to Griswold v. Connecticut – which permitted married couples to use contraception without government interference – and then to Obergefell, the landmark same-sex marriage decision. 

‘They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decisionmaking over the most personal of life decisions,’ Breyer said. 

The majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, said the decision only pertained to abortion arguing that it was not ‘deeply rooted in history.’ 

Breyer argued that’s not possible. 

‘So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid 19th century are insecure,’ Breyer wrote. 

‘Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. 

‘It is one or the other.’ 

There are 18 states that have near-total bans on their books, while four more have time-limit band and four others are likely to pass new bans if Roe is overturned

There are 18 states that have near-total bans on their books, while four more have time-limit band and four others are likely to pass new bans if Roe is overturned

Abortion was automatically outlawed in 18 US states as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned, thanks to specially-devised ‘trigger laws’ and historic bans that were automatically reenacted after Friday’s ruling.

Thirteen states prepared trigger laws which would automatically outlaw terminations in the event of a ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was widely-anticipated.

They are: Arkansas; Idaho; Kentucky; Louisiana; Mississippi; Missouri; North Dakota; Oklahoma; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah and Wyoming.

Abortion bans in those states will now become law within 30 days.

Five other states have also now banned terminations, after historic laws superseded by the 1973 Roe ruling automatically came back into place.

Among those five are two Democrat-governed states – Michigan and Wisconsin.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers have both sought to overturn those bans in the court. But they remain in place for now, and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced Friday afternoon that it was suspending terminations while awaiting clarification on the law.

Other states with newly-re-enacted historic bans are Alabama, Arizona and West Virginia.

Eight other states are also set to enact new anti-abortion laws. Georgia, Iowa and South Carolina all attempted to ban abortion after the six-week mark.

Those laws were branded unconstitutional, but will likely be revisited now Roe has ended. And Florida, Indiana, Montana as well as Nebraska are all working on plans to ban or restrict terminations.




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