DA Chisholm Won’t Prosecute Abortion Cases
District Attorney John Chisholm signs joint statement committing not to prosecute "those who seek, provide, or support abortions."
Milwaukee County District Attorney joined more than 80 other prosecutors from around the country signing a commitment to not prosecute those who “seek, provide, or support abortions.”
“Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice; prosecutors should not be part of that,” the prosecutors said in the joint statement.
The statement, made on Fair and Just Prosecution letterhead, reads, “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. 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.”
The letter notes that the Supreme Court’s decision means that abortion has either immediately become illegal and criminalized, or that it will soon be criminalized in “at least half of our nation’s states.”
“As elected prosecutors, ministers of justice, and leaders in our communities, we cannot stand by and allow members of our community to live in fear of the ramifications of this deeply troubling decision.”
The prosecutors’ joint statement Friday said, “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.”
The statement notes that prosecutors regularly make decisions about where to allocate their resources and which cases to prosecute.
“Enforcing abortion bans runs counter to the obligations and interests we are sworn to uphold. 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 letter said the prosecutors are “horrified” that state’s with bans in place “have failed to carve out exceptions for victims of sexual violence and incest,” calling it “unconscionable.”
“And, even where such exceptions do exist,” the letter states, “abortion bans still threaten the autonomy, dignity, and safety of survivors, forcing them to choose between reporting their abuse or being connected to their abuser for life.”
The prosecutors state that criminalizing abortion would erode faith in the rule of law and trust in their offices.
“Our legislatures may decide to criminalize personal healthcare decisions,” the letter states, “but we remain obligated to prosecute only those cases that serve the interests of justice and the people.”
Read the full statement here.
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Read more about Overturning of Roe v. Wade here