Georgia prosecutors stand firm against abortion ban after issuing ruling

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Georgia’s elected prosecutors and a state legislator said they are standing by against the criminalization of reproductive health decisions after a federal appeals court cleared a six-year abortion ban weeks by state.

Lawmakers and Democratic officials have voiced their opposition to efforts that threaten abortion rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Seven Georgia prosecutors signed a nationwide joint statement last month refusing to use their offices’ resources to criminalize abortion.

“Anyone who proactively made these pledges already knew” that Republicans in the state were pushing for Georgia’s abortion law to go into effect, Georgia State Rep. Renitta Shannon said. D), in an interview on July 22. return on their commitment.

His comments came after the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit last week overturned a lower court injunction on the state’s controversial abortion law, which bars the procedure after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Shannon recently testified before Congress about the disparate negative impact state abortion bans will have on low-income communities and women of color.

Georgia district attorneys say they are standing by their previously stated positions in defense of abortion rights.

“Until our community is rid of violent crimes and sexual predators, I will not spend our limited resources suing women and their doctors for personal health decisions,” said Jared Williams, U.S. Circuit Court Attorney. Augusta, in a June 24 statement following the Supreme Court ruling.

Patsy Austin-Gatson, district attorney for the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit, said July 22 that she stood by her position but would review events on a case-by-case basis if they came through her office.

“There are so many more implications when a right women have enjoyed for fifty years is summarily taken away,” Austin-Gatson said in an emailed statement. “There are tons of nuances around this issue that the law hasn’t taken into account.”

Sherry Boston, the DeKalb County district attorney, told Bloomberg Law that she will continue to use her prosecutorial discretion to protect her community.

“Since the dawn of the criminal justice system, prosecutors have always had the ability to decide which cases they choose to pursue and which cases they choose not to pursue,” she said.

“As DeKalb’s prosecutor who has limited resources, we chose to focus our energy on serious violent crimes, such as murder, rape, aggravated pedophilia and the backlog of criminal cases that resulted from the unprecedented closure due to Covid – and we will continue to put our resources into it rather than taking it out to potentially investigate women and doctors for medical decisions,” Boston said.

Since the Georgia Legislative Assembly will not meet again until January 2023, legislative battles over the ban will have to be put on hold. Still, Shannon urged those who feel strongly about the issue to “show up in November to vote”.

“There are vacancies that may impact this law – as to whether or not it’s something that’s just allowed to stand, or whether it’s something that people will aggressively work on. to have it repealed in Georgia,” she said. said.

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