Some Mississippi prosecutors will not enforce abortion laws

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2022 | Criminal Law |

On July 6, 2022, Mississippi’s trigger law banning most abortions went into effect. The law makes abortion illegal except in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother.

However, some Mississippi prosecutors say they do not plan to prosecute violators of this law.

Justification for not prosecuting

The prosecutors who say they will not prosecute violators of the state’s abortion law explain that it would go against their obligation to pursue justice for Mississippi residents. They further explained that they believe that criminalizing healthcare decisions does not serve the interests of the people.

These prosecutors believe that enforcing the abortion ban will reduce trust in the legal system, retraumatize victims of sexual violence, make it more difficult to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence and take resources away from prosecuting other crimes.

Penalties for violating the law

Anyone other than the pregnant person who performs an abortion in Mississippi faces a potential one to a 10-year prison sentence. While some of the state’s prosecutors have vowed not to enforce the law, not all have.

The move may be largely symbolic, given that the state’s only abortion provider has ceased providing abortions due to the trigger law. Many medical facilities have also expressed concerns about the enforcement of the exceptions to the law, given that in cases of rape or life-endangerment it may not always be obvious to providers what is legal and what is not.

Like much of the South and Midwest, Mississippi faces a murky legal future when it comes to abortion law, leaving pregnant persons and healthcare providers searching for answers.