By Corinne Murdock |
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced on Tuesday that her office wouldn’t prosecute women who obtain an abortion, citing the ongoing legal confusion over state law on abortion.
Mitchell disclosed that her office hasn’t received any case submittals relating to abortion. However, if any submittals were to come through, Mitchell promised that she would seek court guidance before taking any action.
“I know this is a highly emotionally-charged subject, and I want the community to know: I will not prosecute women for having abortions,” said Mitchell. “And no statute even suggests that a woman will ever be prosecuted for her decision.”
Mitchell added that she wouldn’t further victimize rape, incest, or molestation victims by prosecuting them. She implied that her detractors were spreading lies in order to sow fear for political gain. That final comment was likely directed at her opponent, Democratic candidate Julie Gunnigle.
In response, Gunnigle accused Mitchell of “flip-flop[ping]” on her position on prosecuting abortion cases. Gunnigle contended that Mitchell’s promise to enforce the law was contradictory.
Planned Parenthood endorses Gunnigle. Earlier this week, the abortion organization petitioned the Pima County Superior Court to implement a stay on its ruling last week, which lifted the 1973 injunction on Arizona’s total abortion ban.
At present, two abortion laws are in effect: one limiting abortions to 15 weeks, and another banning abortions entirely save in cases where the mother’s life is at stake.
While the state of abortion law is in legal limbo in Arizona, local governments are determining their next moves.
Tucson led the way, preceding the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling by passing a resolution in early June that effectively established the city as a safe haven for abortions. The resolution allowed the police to not arrest anyone who violated abortion law.
AZ Free News reached out to the Phoenix City Council and the Phoenix mayor’s office concerning their promise last month to pass a resolution prohibiting the use of city resources to enforce abortion laws. We are awaiting a response.