The enforcement of anti-abortion laws is neither pro-life nor pro-choice. It’s the rule of law

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[This piece has been published in Restoring America to highlight how leftist prosecutors’ refusal to enforce the law undermines our justice system.]

Even before a
draft notice disclosed
indicated that the Supreme Court could overturn its 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade decision creating a right to abortion, a growing number of liberal prosecutors across the country seemed determined to protect abortion regardless.

Their strategy? Refuse to do their job.

Attorneys general from nearly a dozen states and the District of Columbia have joined locally elected state prosecutors across the country in pledging not to prosecute those who perform or receive abortions if their legislature State criminalizes the procedure.

They join 68 prosecutors who published a
statement
dated October 2020, which characterizes seeking an abortion as a woman’s “personal choice” regarding “[her] own health care” and perform abortion as “treatment” by doctors.

The statement refers to abortion simply as a “problem” without mentioning it, as even the Supreme Court did in deerthe unborn child that an abortion kills.

Thirteen states have enacted laws to criminalize abortion if and when the Supreme Court overturns deer. Five states have pre-deer abortion bans that would also come back into force, according to
the

New York Times
.

Whether these laws are recent or old, limited or broad, these prosecutors have already committed not to apply them even before they have entered into force.

Their attempt to suggest legitimate reasons for such a general dereliction of duty is unconvincing. They claim, for example, that they lack the resources to pursue such cases, but have no evidence to support this because none of these laws are yet in force.

And even speculation on the resources that would be needed would not justify a general refusal to apply any of these laws.

This isn’t the first time Liberal prosecutors have refused to enforce laws they don’t like. Many refuse to prosecute crimes ranging from
drug possession
at
prostitution
at
threats, including domestic violence.

Indeed, cities with rogue prosecutors experienced significant spikes in
criminality
yet district attorneys ignore
pleas
of their constituents, favoring law-breakers over the law-abiding.

On the issue of abortion, not only are prosecutors ignoring the laws that have been enacted by refusing to enforce them, but they are actually arguing that those laws should not have been enacted in the first place.

“No matter what the law says in Virginia, I will not prosecute a woman for having an abortion or for being suspected of causing one,” Steve Descano, Commonwealth Attorney for Fairfax County, Va., wrote in a recent New York Times
editorial
.

By effectively neutralizing entire classes of laws, these rogue prosecutors treat the lawmakers responsible for them — and the people who elected them — as if they simply don’t exist.

They single-handedly replaced our system of government – with separation of powers and elected legislatures – with a system of their own. Prosecutors have discretion in how to perform their duties, including the application of duly enacted laws in individual cases. Refusing to apply whole categories of laws, especially before they are even in force, looks more like a way of neutralizing the power of the legislator to enact these laws.

Any college student (at least where civic education is still taught) knows this. If the prosecutors want to determine what our laws are, they should run for the legislative elections.

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of every state from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” Judge Samuel Alito wrote in the draft opinion leaked in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “[Roe v. Wade] and [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] assumed this authority. We are now reversing those decisions and returning that authority to the people and their elected representatives. »

That’s where that authority belongs. So this question is neither pro-life nor pro-choice. It’s not about politics or party. Requiring prosecutors to do their job is simply a matter of the rule of law.

This piece originally appeared in
the

Daily Signal
and is reproduced by kind permission of the Heritage Foundation.


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