Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley announced this week they will not prosecute abortionists who violate Ohio’s “heartbeat law.”
Signed three years ago by Governor Mike DeWine (R), the act disallows abortions to be performed once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which becomes the case about six weeks into a pregnancy. With last week’s overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, the heartbeat law is now in effect.
Klein, a Democratic former president of the Columbus City Council, told members of the press that he believes the right to abortion should continue whether or not the Supreme Court recognizes it.
“It’s not really our role to get involved with the healthcare decisions between women and doctors,” he said.
Klein and O’Malley are two of about 90 elected prosecutors from across America to have signed a pledge not to enforce their states’ abortion restrictions.
“Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion,” the attorneys wrote in a joint statement. “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.”
According to Ohio Right to Life, approximately 20,000 abortions take place annually in the Buckeye State.
While abortion advocates have argued that the majority of Americans lament the rights enshrined in Roe no longer being recognized, a poll by Rasmussen Reports on Tuesday found that 50 percent of Americans support Roe being overturned. Thirty-eight percent of poll respondents indicated they wished justices had upheld the ruling.
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