California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Wednesday said he would not prosecute women who obtain abortions if the landmark case Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Today I formally pledge not to prosecute women who obtain abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Becerra tweeted.
In a statement, Attorney General Becerra said that enforcing laws that could criminalize abortion would erode trust in communities and shatter nearly 50 years of legal precedent allowing women to make decisions about their medical care.
“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 criminalize under such laws,” Becerra said.
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The attorney general’s comments come on the third day of Senate hearings for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Since President Donald Trump nominated her late last month, Barrett has faced a barrage of scrutiny over her Catholic faith, and to what extent it will influence her decisions. Democrats fear that her views on abortion could lead to overturning the landmark 1973 court case that legalized the procedure.
Barrett has refused to say whether the ruling was correctly decided, though she signed an open letter seven years ago that called the decision “infamous.”
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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has vowed that he would pass legislation to make Roe v. Wade “the law of the land,” protecting it from a Supreme Court that will cement a 6-3 conservative majority if Barrett is confirmed.