AG Fitch’s office says SCOTUS, Mississippi Legislature have spoken clearly on what the responsibilities are for these DAs.
The Fair and Just Prosecution organization, which consists of elected prosecutors across the nation, released a statement stating that they will not use their 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.”
Their decision comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which ultimately overruled the long-standing abortion guidelines nationally handed down 50 years ago with Roe v. Wade.
The statement acknowledged that not all members of the group agree on a personal or moral level regarding the issue of abortion but do believe that as prosecutors they have a responsibility to refrain from using the legal system to criminalize personal medical decisions.
The DA’s from Mississippi that were on the list include:
- Shameca Collins, District Attorney, 6th Judicial District;
- Jody Owens, District Attorney, Hinds County;
- Daniella Shorter, District Attorney, 22nd Judicial District.
The joint statement reads:
“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. Criminalizing abortion will not end abortion; it will simply end safe abortions, forcing the most vulnerable among us — as well as medical providers — to make impossible decisions. Abortion bans will isolate people from the law enforcement, medical, and social resources they need. When individuals know that they or someone they love could be investigated and prosecuted for having an abortion, they are far less likely to call for help in the event of an emergency. Prosecutors, police, and our medical partners cannot do our jobs when many victims and witnesses of crime or other emergencies are unwilling to work with us for fear that their private medical decisions will be criminalized.”
Chief of Staff for Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Michelle Williams, told Y’all Politics on Monday that the Supreme Court and the Mississippi Legislature have spoken clearly.
“We will let the DAs speak to how they will uphold their sworn responsibilities, but Attorney General Fitch took an oath to faithfully support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Mississippi, and obey the laws thereof. The Supreme Court and Mississippi Legislature have spoken clearly on what those responsibilities are,” said Williams.
The statement from FJP went on to add that as prosecutors it is their duty to represent “the people” which includes all members of a community. They added that while Legislatures may decide to criminalize the act of abortion, they will only prosecute the cases that serve the interest of justice and the people.
In short, those that signed the statement believe that prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice and that prosecutors should not be part of that.
READ THE STATEMENT: