LAWRENCE, Kan. — The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling, determining the Constitution does not protect a women’s right to abortion.
The decision led to “trigger bans” in more than two dozen states, including Missouri, where the state became the first to ban abortions. Meanwhile, in Kansas, voters will decide in the August primary election if women should have a constitutional right to abortion services.
Even with abortion illegal in Missouri — and if it is someday banned in Kansas — some women and providers may not be prosecuted.
The Douglas County district attorney promised she will not prosecute cases if abortions are eventually banned in Kansas.
District Attorney Suzanne Valdez’s office confirmed she signed a statement by the group Fair and Just Prosecution.
“If a case were presented to me under a Kansas law that either criminalized an individual who had an abortion or a health care provider, I would refuse to prosecute,” she said in an interview with FOX4 Friday.
“I think women are still going to have abortions. It’s just going to be in an unsafe environment, and to prosecute an individual for exercising that very personal choice is just not something that aligns with our core values in this community.”
Dozens of other prosecutors across the country also signed the pledge, saying they “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.”
Meanwhile, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said he will enforce the law.
“District Attorney Dupree will follow the law in the state of Kansas, as it relates to abortions. If the law is overturned, this office will look at instances of abortion on a case-by-case basis. At this time, abortions are still legal in this state,” his office said in a statement.
Other county prosecutors were much more careful in how they answered the prosecution question.
Jefferson County, Kansas Attorney Josh Ney talked with FOX4 Friday, but not in his position as county attorney. He did offer insight into the overturn of Roe v. Wade though.
“What this does is this really just returns the public policy debate to the states for the states to decide for themselves what types of abortion regulations should be on the books or frankly whether there should be statutorily created rights or even constitutionally created rights in the states that would protect the right to an abortion,” he said.
“We are not at a place at all to begin discussing whether something should be prosecuted or whether something can be prosecuted under state statues.”
On the other side of the state line, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in previous interviews she won’t pursue abortion cases.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd released this statement about his office’s response to the change in Missouri law.
“It is not possible under Missouri law to prosecute a woman for having an abortion. On the contrary, Missouri law repeatedly states that a woman upon whom an abortion is performed shall not be prosecuted. As required by my oath of office, I will enforce Missouri law as enacted by the legislature subject to any Constitutional limitations, while also retaining the prosecutorial discretion to consider the facts of every case individually,” Zahnd said.
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