Some of the same Soros-funded prosecutors accused of going easy on criminals are now refusing to enforce the state abortion laws taking effect after the fall of Roe v. Wade.
Ninety left-tilting attorneys general and district attorneys have signed a joint statement pledging not to pursue criminal charges for violations of abortion statutes, including at least 20 recipients of campaign support from Democratic megadonor George Soros.
“Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion,” reads the statement. “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 prosecutors come from 29 states, one territory and the District of Columbia. They represent a total of 91.5 million constituents, including 28.5 million in 12 states “where abortion is now banned or likely to be banned,” said Fair and Just Prosecution, which organized the statement.
“As such, we decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions and commit to exercise our well-settled discretion and refrain from prosecuting those who seek, provide, or support abortion,” the prosecutors said.
The list includes high-profile prosecutors backed by political action committees funded by Mr. Soros, who spent $40 million in the last decade to elect district attorneys committed to a social justice agenda, according to a report last month from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF).
Among the signers are Cook County prosecutor Kim Foxx of Illinois. Mr. Soros pumped $2 million into the Illinois Justice and Public Safety PAC to help reelect Ms. Foxx in 2020.
Other Soros beneficiaries tracked by the Capital Research Center on the statement include Loudoun County, Virginia, prosecutor Buta Biberaj; Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg; Fairfax County, Virginia, prosecutor Steve Descano; Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon; and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Fair and Just Prosecution itself is a fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Center, described by Influence Watch as a left-of-center “donor pass-through organization” for groups including the Soros-founded Open Society Foundation.
Open Society gave $30 million to the center, the Tides Foundation and Tides Advocacy from 2016-20, including $3 million earmarked for the Soros-affiliated Alliance for Safety and Justice, another Tides Center project, the LELDF report found.
Fair and Just Prosecution also has received funding from the Ford Foundation-backed Fund for the City of New York, Open Philanthropy, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Art for Justice, according to Influence Watch.
At least one Republican lawmaker has called for countering the no-prosecution prosecutors. Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain said last week that he’s looking at legislation that would allow district attorneys to bring charges against alleged violators outside their borders.
“We’ve been in discussions of ideas of whether we allow neighboring DAs to prosecute these crimes if the DAs say they’re not going to,” Mr. Cain said on Inside Texas Politics.
He also noted that the Texas Heartbeat Act signed last year includes criminal as well as civil penalties for medical providers who perform illegal abortions.
“I expect the urban county DAs to resist it. And that’s why we need to come up with alternative remedies,” Mr. Cain said. “That is one of the main reasons we have civil enforcement under the Texas heartbeat bill. We knew that the major, urban DAs weren’t going to want to enforce these things, so we allowed for civil remedies.”
Symbolic signers in blue states
About 22 states have laws on the books that place pre-viability restrictions on abortion, and another four are expected to follow, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research nonprofit that supports reproductive rights.
Those states that do criminalize violations of abortion law target the provider, not the pregnant patient. For example, Alabama’s Human Life Protection Act, which passed in 2019 but didn’t kick in until June 24, makes it a Class A felony for a medical professional to perform an abortion or administer abortion pills.
For most of those vowing not to enforce restrictive abortion laws, the pledge is purely symbolic, given that they hail from blue states with few if any meaningful restrictions on abortion.
For example, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and seven state district attorneys were among the signers, but Colorado has no gestational limits on abortion and requires only parental notification for minors. A law signed in April by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis declares abortion a “fundamental right.”
Other Democratic attorneys general in abortion-friendly states signing the pledge include Vermont’s Joshua Diamond, Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, Massachusetts’ Maura Healey and Delaware’s Kathleen Jennings.
Several of the signers have been targeted for recall over concerns about rising crime, including Mr. Gascon and Mr. Descano. San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is expected to leave office shortly after being recalled last month by the voters.
Those elected in states with pre-viability restrictions include three from Texas: Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza and Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales. All three were backed by Soros-funded campaign committees.
Texas passed last year a “trigger” law now poised to take effect that prohibits abortion except to save the life of the pregnant woman or to avoid “serious risk of substantial impairment.” Doctors who violate the law face a first-degree felony charge if the child dies, as well as $100,000 in fines and loss of medical license.
“Outlawing abortion will not end abortion; it will simply end safe abortions and prevent people from seeking the care and help they need for fear of criminal prosecution,” Mr. Gonzales said in a statement. “I refuse to subject members of my community to that risk.”
The signers also include eight prosecutors from Virginia, which allows abortion through the third trimester if needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant woman, an exception that includes mental health.
Last week, however, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin came out in support of a 15-week gestational limit on most abortions, calling it a “chance for us to come together as Virginians.”
Mr. Descano has been outspoken in his opposition to enforcing abortion laws. He wrote a May 31 essay for The New York Times headlined “My Governor Can Pass Bad Abortion Laws. But I Won’t Enforce Them.”
“No matter what the law in Virginia says, I will not prosecute a woman for having an abortion, or for being suspected of inducing one,” Mr. Descano tweeted.
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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