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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley pledges not to pursue charges for abortion patients, providers

O'Malley joined around 90 other prosecutors from around the nation in vowing not to pursue charges against 'those who seek, provide, or support abortions.'

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley has joined a bipartisan group of over 90 elected officials who have vowed not to pursue charges against "those who seek, provide, or support abortions."

The announcement comes following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday. Hours later, a judicial stay on Ohio’s "Heartbeat" law was lifted, essentially banning abortion after six weeks in the state. Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order late Friday night for the Ohio Department of Health to adopt rules under the Heartbeat law "specifying the appropriate methods of performing an examination for the purpose of determining the presence of a fetal heartbeat of an unborn individual based on standard medical practice."   

"Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion. But 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. 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," the prosecutors stated in the Fair and Just Prosecution's joint statement. 

"As elected prosecutors, when we stand in court, we have the privilege and obligation to represent 'the people,'" the statement reads, in closing. "All members of our communities are our clients – they elected us to represent them and we are bound to fight for them as we carry out our obligation to pursue justice. Our legislatures may decide to criminalize personal healthcare decisions, but we remain obligated to prosecute only those cases that serve the interests of justice and the people. Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice; prosecutors should not be part of that."

Read the full statement here.

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