ATLANTA — At least seven Georgia district attorneys have vowed not to prosecute abortion-related cases following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In the hours following the June 24 court decision, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr Carr filed a notice to the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit requesting it allow Georgia’s 2019 “heartbeat” law to take effect.
The 11th Circuit had put the law on hold until the Supreme Court made a ruling in a landmark Mississippi case, which overturned Roe v. Wade — a 1973 court decision protecting a woman’s freedom to have an abortion — on June 24.
The 11th Circuit has now asked both sides in the Georgia lawsuit — the state of Georgia and women’s health organization — to file legal briefs within 21 days before deciding on Georgia’s law (HB 481) taking affect. The heartbeat law, once in affect, will ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, typically at six weeks.
However, the seven Georgia district attorneys, some of them representing multiple counties, have already vowed not to prosecute abortion-related cases. District attorneys from Chatham, DeKalb, Douglas, Gwinnett, Augusta Judicial Circuit, Macon Judicial Circuit and Western Judicial Circuit (Athens) have joined the movement of nearly 90 DAs nationwide.
“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,” a joint statement from the prosecutors reads. “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 abortions.”
Though the Georgia law is vague in who — either the woman, person performing or aiding the abortion, or both — to persecute in