More Georgia prosecutors won’t file charges against people who seek or provide abortions

A 33-year-old mother of three from central Texas is escorted down the hall by a clinic administrator prior to getting an abortion in October of 2021 at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, La.

Rebecca Blackwell / Rebecca Blackwell

More Georgia district attorneys say they won’t prosecute people who seek or provide abortions. At least seven prosecutors in the state have so far joined a group of dozens of other prosecutors across the United States in taking that position since the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

The Fair and Just Prosecution group has issued a letter, updated Monday, against enforcing abortion bans, saying that would erode trust in the criminal justice system, siphon needed resources away from prosecuting crimes that impact public safety, and further harm victims of sexual abuse, rape, incest, trafficking and domestic violence.

The letter’s signatures include seven from Georgia judicial districts in Athens, Augusta, and Macon, as well as Chatham, DeKalb, Douglas, and Gwinnett counties.

In an emailed response, Governor Brian Kemp’s office says it’s focused on enacting Georgia’s six-week abortion law that’s still held up in the legal system. It’s asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the 2019 law to take effect.

“In Georgia, we are focused on ensuring that our existing law, the Georgia LIFE Act, to protect the unborn is fully implemented. We are currently fighting a legal challenge (Sistersong v. Kemp) to that law before the 11th Circuit. On Friday June 24, 2022, our legal team filed a notice requesting the 11th Circuit to reverse the District Court’s decision and allow Georgia’s law to take effect. Also on Friday June 24, 2022, the 11th Circuit then issued an order directing the parties to file briefs on the effect the Dobbs decision has on this case,” the statement reads.

Action in the case is expected soon.

And advocates for abortion rights say they’re gearing up for a fight to preserve access to the procedure in Georgia.

The state’s abortion law bans abortion at around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant.

“And we have heard from the Georgia abortion clinics that since the news on Friday, gone have been ringing nonstop. And folks are traveling from across the South to Atlanta to get services before the laws change,” she says. “No court will keep us from accessing abortion care. So now it’s time for local organizing policy change and abortion funding.”

Coffman’s coalition is working with the Atlanta City Council and the Mayor’s Office to allocate a city abortion fund.

It’s also calling on state lawmakers to repeal existing abortion restrictions.