Maricopa County Attorney: 'I will not prosecute women for having abortions'




  • In US
  • 2022-09-28 00:15:35Z
  • By AZCentral | The Arizona Republic
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell answers reporters
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell answers reporters' questions on abortion laws in Maricopa County during a news conference on June 28, 2022.  

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she will not prosecute anyone who receives an abortion, in a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday.

"I know this is a highly emotionally charged subject, and I want the community to know that I will not prosecute women for having abortions." Mitchell said in the video.

The law already does not allow for those receiving an abortion to be prosecuted, which Mitchell also states.

"I will not re-victimize survivors of rape, incest, or molestation." Mitchell said. "I've spent my career defending people that have suffered those crimes."

Mitchell is one of two candidates vying for the county attorney's seat in the November election.

Mitchell does not make it clear on how she would handle abortion providers saying, "If further guidance has not been provided by the courts or the legislature by that time, my office will seek guidance from the court before taking any action."

Mitchell's statement comes in the wake of Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson lifting an injunction on a pre-statehood Arizona law that seeks to ban abortions outright, even in the case of rape or incest.

The 158-year-old law also calls for mandatory prison time for abortion providers.

According to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the bill is currently the prevailing law in Arizona after the fall of Roe v. Wade returned the decision back to states. It would then override the bill Gov. Doug Ducey signed in March that sought to criminalize abortion after just 15 weeks.

More on abortion: Here's what you need to know about Arizona's abortion law

Mitchell has come under fire since the ruling, which has spawned multiple protests since, citing that it is part of a larger political campaign.

"False statements being made about the law or about my position in order to sow fear for political gain are simply irresponsible."

Mitchell's answer has seemed to shift from her debate with Maricopa County Attorney candidate Julie Gunnigle, when Mitchell said it was "not responsible" of Gunnigle to say she would never prosecute a person receiving an abortion.

"I use prosecutorial discretion every single day of my life, but that means I'm going to look at every case for whether there's a reasonable likelihood of conviction." Mitchell said in the debate.

Planned Parenthood has since suspended all abortion services within Arizona while they seek a motion to put the Pima County courts ruling on hold.

Reach breaking news reporter Kye Graves at klgraves@gannett.com or on Twitter @kyegraves.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell will not prosecute abortions

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