Douglas County DA signs statement committing to not prosecute women or health care providers seeking or performing abortions

photo by: Contributed Photo

Suzanne Valdez was elected to serve as Douglas County district attorney in November 2020.

Updated at 2:43 p.m. Friday

Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez added her name to a joint letter of elected prosecutors who will not pursue cases against women who seek an abortion or against health care providers who perform the procedure, calling criminalization of abortion care “a mockery of justice.”

The letter was released Friday by Fair and Just Prosecution and lists 83 prosecutors across the country who have committed to not using their local resources to prosecute people involved in the abortion process. The letter is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade ending the constitutional right to abortion.

“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,” the letter said.

Fair and Just Prosecution is a nonprofit that “brings together elected local prosecutors as part of a network of leaders committed to promoting a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility,” according to its website.

Read the full joint statement here.

In a news release Friday afternoon, Valdez’s office condemned the overturning of Roe.

“The right to make a very personal decision is no longer available to many Americans,” Valdez said. “My office cannot and will not devote time and resources to pursue cases that erode public safety and compromise public health. Prosecutors have a duty and the authority to exercise discretion to pursue only cases that serve the community’s interest. Criminalizing this personal healthcare decision does not serve our community’s interest. Therefore, I have signed the pledge that my office will not criminalize those who seek or provide abortion.”

Valdez said the prosecutors’ statement also emphasizes how abortion bans “disproportionately harm victims of sexual abuse, rape, incest, human trafficking and domestic violence, and that many anti-abortion laws either do not provide exceptions for victims of sexual violence or force survivors to choose between reporting their assault or carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.”


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