Prosecutors Who Won’t Enforce Abortion Law ‘Have Violated Their Oath’: State AG
Numerous prosecutors nationwide “have violated their oath” of office by promising not to enforce pro-life legal protections if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, a state attorney general said on Monday.
With the future of abortion-on-demand hinging on an imminently anticipated Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a majority of states in the U.S. will likely enact laws punishing abortionists. Among them, 13 states have passed trigger laws designed to begin protecting unborn children the first moment justices legally allow it. Yet district attorneys in major metropolitan areas across the country, including liberal cities inside conservative states, have threatened to shield the abortion industry by refusing to enforce validly enacted, pro-life legislation.
Satana Deberry, the district attorney of Durham County, North Carolina, vowed not to prosecute abortionists on the grounds that “I am committed to the safety and well-being of everyone in my community.” District Attorney Sherry Boston of Georgia’s Dekalb County, called prosecuting abortionists who violate state “the exact opposite of our role as district attorney.”
Some Democratic prosecutors have implied that rank criminals are morally superior to center-Right lawmakers who respect the right to life. “Almost two and a half years ago, I took my oath of office as prosecutor and swore to protect my community from those who broke the law. The real threat, I now realize, may stem from those who write the law,” wrote Steve Descano, the commonwealth attorney for Fairfax County, Virginia, in a New York Times op-ed last week. “[N]o matter what the law in Virginia says, I will not prosecute a woman for having an abortion.”
Prosecutors such as Boston, who oversees Atlanta, often justify their selective enforcement of the law by citing the same much-cited legal concept. Prosecutorial discretion allows the D.A. to prioritize more serious crimes over less serious ones. But Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) says their definition stretches the term beyond all recognition.
Liberal prosecutors’ intransigence could more accurately be described as dereliction of duty and a wholesale violation of their oath of office.
“When a prosecutor says, ‘I’m not going to enforce an entire class of laws because I disagree with it,’ then that prosecutor has done something very dangerous,” said Yost on “Washington Watch” Monday. “I believe they’ve violated their oath because they’ve basically said, ‘I don’t care what the elected representatives charged with making the laws have done. I am going to arrogate to myself the power to veto that by not enforcing it.’” Yost noted that all prosecutors take an oath requiring them to uphold and enforce the Constitution, as well as the laws of the United States of America and the state which they serve.
“That couldn’t be further from what these woke prosecutors are proposing to do,” he said.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin faces a recall election on Tuesday over his excessively lenient enforcement of the city’s laws triggered a spike in crime. Shoplifting has skyrocketed since Boudin announced he would treat thefts of less than $950 as a misdemeanor. Numerous videos have shown thieves strolling into stores, filling up sacks with stolen retail goods, and leaving with impunity. At least 30 prosecutors have quit Boudin’s office to protest his overly lax prosecutorial record. If Boudin loses his race, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, would appoint a temporary replacement. Numerous district attorneys, often financed by liberal donor George Soros — including George Gascon of Los Angeles, Kim Foxx of Chicago, Larry Krasner of Philadelphia, and Alvin Bragg of New York City — have flouted laws nationwide.
Criminals’ ambivalent attitudes toward the law flows from the top-down, said Yost. Prosecutors’ inaction “is lawless,” he added. “It’s the absolute breakdown of the rule of law. And that means we are in a position where everyone does what’s right in their own eyes,” said Yost, citing a verse that recurs throughout the Book of Judges. “That’s no law at all.”
But ultimately, he believes, justice will be done. Yost wrote off much of the pro-abortion posturing as “political theater” that would not thwart the implementation of pro-life laws in the event of a pro-life ruling in the Dobbs case. “Red states are well able to defend their prerogatives and enforce their own laws,” Yost insisted. “The state that passed the law protecting life could certainly easily pass a law authorizing its attorney general or governor or whomever to go to court, to enforce the law that the local government doesn’t want to participate in.”
Yost’s comments imply that, if Roe is overturned, life will win — one way or another.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.