BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Dozens of elected prosecutors have signed on to a pledge to not criminalize abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court. The pledge comes as confirmation hearings are underway for President Donald Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court.
Those from Massachusetts making the pledge are Attorney General Maura Healey, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, Middlesex County D.A. Marian Ryan, Berkshire County D.A. Andrea Harrington and Northwestern District D.A. David E. Sullivan.
A statement from prosecutors says reproductive rights have come “under assault” by some state legislatures in recent years.
“To fulfill our obligations as prosecutors and ministers of justice to preserve the integrity of the system and keep our communities safe and healthy, it is imperative that we use our discretion to decline to prosecute personal healthcare choices criminalized under such laws,” the prosecutors state.
Many states recently adopted broad restrictions on abortion. We join more than 60 of our colleagues in saying "we should not and will not criminalize healthcare choices such as these." https://t.co/DlPWdIXVmt
— Berkshire District Attorney's Office (@CountyBerkshire) October 14, 2020
After Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018, Massachusetts repealed a long-dormant ban on abortion that predated Roe v. Wade. There is currently a push to pass legislation expanding abortion access in the Bay State, but the “ROE Act” has been stuck in committee for months.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham says the nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court is a signal to young conservative women who oppose abortion that there’s “a seat at the table for them.”
Opening the second day of questioning on Wednesday, the South Carolina Republican told Barrett she has been “candid to this body about who you are, what you believe” and this is the first time a woman who is “unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology” has been nominated to the Supreme Court.
Graham says he’s “never been more proud” of a nominee.
While Barrett has repeatedly declined during her confirmation hearings to say how she would rule on abortion, senators have been clear in their questioning that they know she is opposed to it.
Barrett is the most openly anti-abortion nominee to the Supreme Court in decades. Democrats have warned her confirmation could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)