Meet the Prosecutors Resisting America’s Frightening New Abortion Bans

December 3, 2019

A new wave of abortion bans has swept statehouses in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah. Many of these states have banned abortions at such an early stage of pregnancy—six to eight weeks—that many women won’t even know they’re pregnant yet. Because these laws are now being challenged in court, none of them have taken effect.

Some of the nation’s prosecutors are considering deliberate inaction. In mid-April, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel made a public pledge: Should Roe v. Wade be overturned and her state’s pre-1973 ban on abortion come back into effect, she would not prosecute a woman for having one or her doctor for providing one. Soon after, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said he would refuse to enforce Utah’s new 18-week ban. After Georgia passed a ban on terminating a pregnancy as early as six weeks, four Atlanta-area DAs told the media that they too would refrain from enforcing the law. And in June, Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) released a joint statement from 42 prosecutors—including Gill, Nessel, and 12 attorneys general—asserting that the bans are unconstitutional.

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