Douglas Co. DA pledges not prosecute abortions

Suzanne Valdez
Suzanne Valdez(Suzanne Valdez)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 3:26 PM CDT
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DOUGLAS CO., Kan. (WIBW) - While abortions remain legal in Kansas, Douglas County’s District Attorney has made a pledge to not prosecute those who seek, assist in or provide them if that ever changes.

In a news release sent Friday, District Attorney Suzanne Valdez announced that she has joined 82 elected prosecutors across the country that pledge to not criminalize personal healthcare decisions.

The group of 83 elected prosecutors issued a joint statement Friday calling the criminalization of abortion care was a “mockery of justice.” The statement said that “using limited criminal justice resources to prosecute personal healthcare decisions runs counter to their obligation to pursue justice and promote public safety.”

Kansas has yet to ban abortions, however, voters will be given the opportunity to approve a constitutional amendment that would all but guarantee a statewide ban on the August 2, 2022 primary election ballot.

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution protected abortion rights.

“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.”

The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade will soon mean that abortions will be banned in at least 26 states.

Valdez is the only Kansas County Attorney to say they will not prosecute abortions should the upcoming constitutional amendment pass.

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